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FTL Design
History of Technology

Cox’s Gold Changer and Tills
J.C. Cox, London

The British censuses of 1891 and 1901 record John Cox at 174 Queen Victoria Street, the Black Friar pub opposite the Blackfriars London Underground station, his occupation being listed as “publican”. Some of the history of the pub and the Cox family connection to it may be found on the Historical Street & Pub History Directory website.

Cox, whose legal name according to some of his patents was apparently Jehu Christopher Cox, invented devices to track “payments made over a public house bar, counter, or elsewhere.” These included a machine to change gold coins, and tills to register and store coins. Details of these devices are shown on this page.
[Thanks to Geoff Cox for researching this information].


Joyce Hoad provides some interesting background information. She writes [May 2008]:

I am the granddaughter of William Joseph Enock, a cabinet maker who made the Cox’s tills He also worked with Ell (see below) and others. Jehu Cox was an inventor; he did not do any manufacturing.

My father was Arthur Henry Enock (born 1912), and he told me about the tills and even showed me where they were made, in a cellar opposite the pub (now paved over). I have the vice (very large) which was used.

The Enock family came from a small village called Barford St Michael in Oxfordshire. William Joseph Enock was working there in 1881 as a carpenter, but by 1882 he had married Emily and was living in London The couple had two children: George William in 1883, and Emily Jane in 1887. The family lived in Peckham (Camberwell—South London). William Enock met Jehu Cox, who had invented the till but needed a cabinet maker, which William now was. There were other men who worked with William and also patented refinements.

Later, Cox “sold” the business to the Enock family, who never changed the name from Cox’s tills. William Enock died in 1916, leaving his wife Emily and son George William to run the business. Later, George’s sister Emily Jane became involved; she never married.

George married Elizabeth in 1907 and they had two sons, George Llewellyn and Arthur Henry. George William Enock died in 1923, leaving his wife Elizabeth and her mother-in-law and sister-in-law to keep the business going, as both the sons were still too young, although they were involved in running errands to buy the parts. George Llewellyn “inherited” the business and with help from Arthur Henry (my father) it continued until the 1930s. Unfortunately, George L was not a businessman, so the company foundered before the Second World War.

Cox’s Changer

Patented in 1907, this British money changer dispenses a container of change when a sovereign or half-sovereign gold coin is inserted.

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By His Majestys Royal Letters Patents

Tel No Holborn 5709

J.C. Cox,
Inventor, Patentee & Manufacturer

Little Water Lane, Queen Victoria St., London E.C

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There are 17 coin containers stacked in the left hand (20/-) column and 16 in the right hand (10/-) column

The top container in each column has a lid, the rest are open

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The coin slot is mounted to the glass on the front door.  The machine gives change for gold coins of two denominations:
20/- (twenty shillings, one sovereign, one pound)
and 10/- (ten shillings, half-sovereign, 50 pence)
The top of the changer has a well for the customer to deposit the empty coin container after removing the change from it Cast into the mechanism below the coin slots, and visible through the door, is the 1907 British patent number 22754 (see below)
Serial number 282 is
stamped inside the case
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The coin drawer has its original key, marked
J.C. Cox, London

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When a coin is inserted, the changer weighs it (the balance being adjustable from the rear of the mechanism) and releases the appropriate drawer.  Rejected coins are returned via the slot between the two coin drawer handles.

The user pulls the drawer handle to release the coin container, removes the change, and places the empty container in the well on the top of the changer.

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Mechanism front view Top rear Side rear
The brass mechanism slides out of the case for refilling and maintenance.
In the front view the 20/- containers are on the left, the 10/- on the right.
See a similar Ell’s patent safecheck gold changer at the
Macleay Museum of the History of Science at the University of Sydney
Patent information

I researched GB patent 1907:22,754 at the City of Leeds Patents Information Unit in England in March 2002.  The staff were extremely helpful, and were able to provide me with a copy of the original patent document.

The patent is titled “Improvements in Coin-freed Change Tills” and was issued to William Joseph Enock at Cox’s London address.  The patent is for an improvement to the mechanism which detects rejected coins, adding an option to prevent the rejected coin being returned to the user, and requiring the operator to open the till to retrieve the coin.  The mechanism can be set to either block the return, or to allow the return as normal.

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Full text of the patent:

No. 22,754

A.D.1907

Date of Application, 4th Dec., 1907—Accepted 12th Mar, 1908

COMPLETE SPECIFICATION

Improvements in Coin-freed Change Tills.

I, WILLIAM JOSEPH ENOCK, of Little Water Lane, Queen Victoria Street, in the City of London, Manufacturer of Tills, do hereby declare the nature of this invention and in what manner the same is to be performed to be particularly described and ascertained in and by the following statement.

This invention relates to improvements in coin-freed apparatus for delivering change in exchange for a coin of higher value, for instance for giving change for sovereigns and half sovereigns, and its object is the provision of means for temporarily retaining a coin which has been rejected by the apparatus as unsuitable for operating the change delivery mechanism.

More particularly this invention relates to that class of coin-freed change till, in which the coin rolls down on to a freely pivoted balance which, if the coin is of the proper weight, it tilts and is thereby delivered into a position to release the change giving mechanism, but should the coin fail to tilt the balance it is returned rejected along another chute to the outside of the machine.

It is often desirable that some check should be placed upon the free return of a rejected coin, whereby, before it can be recovered, the attention of the person in charge of the change till will be directed to the circumstance that a bad coin has been tendered.

Now according to my invention and for the above purpose I provide a device capable of being so adjusted as to block the coin-delivery chute and thus require the till to be opened before a rejected coin can be recovered. A representative manner of retaining the coin is by obstructing the delivery chute for the rejected coin inside the till by means of a pivoted plate, which alternatively may be displaced so as to permit the delivery of the rejected coin to the outside.

A constructional form of the present invention is illustrated on the accompanying drawing, in which : -
Figs. 1 & 2 are a vertical section and front elevation respectively, of a portion of a change till showing the device for retaining a rejected coin inside a till.

In these figures : -
a is the lower end of the chute leading from the coin slot of the apparatus from which a coin is delivered on to a balance b. If suitable the coin will tilt the balance and drop on to the change delivery unlocking mechanism arranged beneath. On the other hand, an unsuitable coin, instead of tilting the balance, will roll off the inclined bottom thereof and along a chute c to a shelf d arranged outside the till-casing.

This mechanism is as usual arranged in duplicate, one set being for sovereigns, the other for half sovereigns.

For the purpose of alternatively enabling a coin to be retained within the till, a plate e is pivoted to the front of the till frame between the ends of the chutes c of the two sets of apparatus, which chutes terminate within the casing. The plate e can alternatively be angularly displaced so as to obstruct the ends c and thus retain a rejected coin, as shown in dotted lines in Fig. 2 or so as to uncover the ends thereof, as shown in full lines in Fig 2 and so permit the coin to slide on to the shelf d which protrudes through the casing.

Access to the plate e is had by opening the till door f.

Having now particularly described and ascertained the nature of my said invention and in what manner the same is to be performed, I declare that what I claim is :-

1. In a coin-freed change till, means for alternatively obstructing or permitting the free delivery of a rejected coin to the outside of the till.

2 . In a coin-freed change till, a plate arranged adjacently to the rejected coin delivery chute and adapted to be alternatively displaced to obstruct or permit the free delivery of a rejected coin to the outside of the till.

3. A coin-freed change till according to Claim 2 in which the obstructing plate is pivoted between the ends of the pair of delivery chutes of a duplicated apparatus.

Dated this 4th day of December, 1907.

PHILLIPS & LEIGH
22, Southampton Buildings, Chancery Lane, London W.C.
Agents for the Applicant.


Cox’s Tills

As noted in patent 22,754 above, Cox also made tills. Coins are inserted into slots in the top of the center section of the till, and movement of the lever from side to side causes the coins to make their way into the drawer, a bell ringing at each step. The racks at the side have a glass back; it’s thought that these were used to stack counted coins. Cox also made a version of the till with a single side rack, not shown. A detailed description of the operation of the mechanism is given in patent 2986, issued in 1883; details below.
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Photo courtesy Philippe Rouillé Photo courtesy Sue Clay
Sue Clay writes: The number on this mechanism is 8340—this is stamped on the inside of the open door and at the top of the mechanism, which takes coins in two separate slots at the top of the machine.  The money drops down from one ledge to the next on the side it was inserted. As you move the mechanism from left to right this rings the bell, the coin finally dropping into the drawer beneath.

According to the nameplate the unit is “Fitted with patent return check bell”. See the patent below for more information.

Sue also sent this article from the magazine Antique Machines and Curiosities Vol 1 No. 3 1979:

Hard Luck On Sharpies

The customer and the cashier could both see the coin tendered in payment at the cash till shown below, which was auctioned recently at Christie’s.

The coin was put into one of the two slots at the top depending on the position of the trigger just below. As the coin went in, the trigger was moved across to let the coin drop into the space underneath and also to ring a bell.

Sharp customers often challenged the change they received, claiming that a half-crown was tendered and not a florin for which the change was given. The extra 6d was worth arguing about then as it was the rate of pay per hour for many workers.

As the coin was held between panes of glass, and clearly visible, there was little room for debate. Even if the customer came back after another transaction had been dealt with, the coin was still to be seen, having dropped one place in a zigzag progression down the till in five or six moves. At the bottom it went into the locked box.

The three bowls probably held change of bronze, silver and (in the centre) gold coins. On the racks alongside the till, piles of counted coins could be placed. There are sheets of glass (not visible in the picture) preventing theft.

The machine was patented, the patent being granted in the late 19th century. The plate on the till proclaims that “J. C. Cox” was the “inventor, patentee and manufacturer” of the till.

At the far right, just beyond the right-hand bowl, there is a device no longer used, a “detector” for counterfeit coins. It is a strip of hard metal with slots for each size of coin. The suspect coin was inserted into its own sized slot and pulled. If it bent—or, more usually, broke—it was proven to be false. The owner could have been charged with passing, or attempting to pass, counterfeit money, but rarely was. It was bad enough to lose the coin which had probably been passed on to him or her.

Ernest Gould notes that his till has a paper label glued inside the case:

“NOTICE: To ensure the easy and perfect working of these Tills, they must
be kept thoroughly clean and free from all corroded beer, & c. and the least
touch of oil on the brass bearings of sliding sash only.”

Peter Hartnell, J.C. Cox’s great-grandson, has kindly provided this 1896 handbill for Cox’s tills. The annual Brewers’ Exhibition, held at the Agricultural Hall in Islington, London, began in 1879 and was a logical venue for Cox, himself a publican, to promote the tills.

Image courtesy of Peter Hartnell

BREWERS’ EXHIBITION, 1896
Stand No. 57, Gallery.


INCREASED SALES.


COX’S PATENTS.

After the test of years, are now the most

POPULAR CASH  TILLS.


They are preferred to the expensive Register Tills.


Mistakes and Disputes are Prevented by using them.

All Tills are now fitted with the Patent Return Check
Bells, which prevent back ringing.


The Patent Return Check Bell Action can be fitted
to all Tills not having same for 10/6 each.

THOUSANDS IN USE.

See Patent Self-Locking Drawers.   
Call or Write for Illustrated Catalogue


J.C. Cox,
"The Black Friar,"
Queen Victoria Street, London, E.C.

(NEAR BLACKFRIARS BRIDGE).

J.W. WHITE, Printer, 167-181, Queen Victoria Street, E.C.

From this it is obvious that the tills were not just a minor sideline for Cox. If the four-digit serial numbers found stamped inside the door of each till are any indication, production must have run to several thousand over the years, as the flyer states.


Cox’s Patents for Tills

With help from the British Library Patents Information Department, I have found several earlier GB patents by J.C. Cox. The one relating to the bell is dated October 24th, 1892, number 19053. The abridgement of the patent is reproduced below.

Cox’s patents for tills are as follows (not yet researched in detail):

Patent Year Title Notes
GB 2986 1893 Improvements in Tills See below for full patent.
GB 19053 1893? Improvements in Tills See below for extract. References patent 2986, so must be later.
GB 17997 1894 Improvements in Tills  
GB 4342 1897 Improvements in Tills  
GB 3228 1901 Improvements in Tills  
GB 7492 1905 Improvements in and relating to Money Tills  

Two further patents, although in the name of Cox, are not related:

Patent Year Title Notes
GB 19758 1894 Improvements in Coin Freed Delivery Apparatus Inventors are listed as Stuart Dixon Stubbs Ross and Joseph Chave Cox.
GB 15880 1901 Coin-freed Money-changing
Apparatus
Inventor is listed as James George Cox, Glass & China Merchant, 42 Old Compton Street.

Geoff Cox reports [September 2003] that the British censuses of 1891 and 1901 record John Cox at the Queen Victoria Street address, occupation publican. Geoff’s further research [June 2004] on patent 2986 of 1893 (below) makes it clear that Cox, named as Jehu Christopher Cox in the patent, was this same publican, and his invention was intended to track “payments made over a public house bar, counter, or elsewhere.” 174 Queen Victoria Street was, and is, the Black Friar pub, opposite the Blackfriars London Underground station.

The Black Friar Pub, 174 Queen Victoria Street, London, April 2004
 

A.D. 1883, 15th June No. 2986
Tills.

Jehu Christopher Cox, 174, Queen Victoria Street, London.

LETTERS PATENT to Jehu Christopher Cox, of 174 Queen Victoria Street, in the City of London and County of Middlesex for an Invention of “IMPROVEMENTS IN TILLS”

PROVISIONAL SPECIFICATION left by the said Jehu Christopher Cox at the Office of the Commissioners of Patents on the 15th June 1883.

JEHU CHRISTOPHER COX, of 174 Queen Victoria Street, in the City of London and County of Middlesex “IMPROVEMENTS IN TILLS ”

My Invention relates to improvements in the construction of Tills whereby I propose that payments made over a public house bar, counter or elsewhere, may be readily separated and the last two, three, four or more takings, thus kept apart be more readily visible than in other tills or receptacles of this nature; my improved Till or money box being also of simple construction and little liable to get out of order, its action being sliding or pivoting and independent of spring power.

One form in which I propose to construct my improved Till is that of a vertical box or case within which traverses horizontally a frame carrying bars or plates so arranged that, in conjunction with grooves formed within the outer box, they by a movement of the traversing frame in one direction form the bottom of a receptacle for money introduced through the top of the box, and by its movement in the opposite direction open that receptacle and permit the money to fall from it into the receptacle beneath, and so on according to the number of receptacles provided. The money thus descending lower and lower by each movement of the moveable frame until it issues at the bottom into a closed or an open bowl or receiver.

Bars placed vertically upon the inside of the box separate the receptacles or compartments into two or more columns; I might fix these vertical bars on the moveable frame so as to push the coin off of the horizontal bars to the next lower compartment, the horizontal bars being then fixed on the inside of the outer case.

In order that the contents of each receptacle may be visible at a glance, I place a sheet of glass in the front of my box, and prefer also that the moveable frame be made wholly or partially of glass, and that a piece of the same material form part of the opposite face of the box; thus where convenient so to place it, the contents of the receptacles may be visible from either side of the box.

The slits or openings in the top of the moveable frame are so made that only one of them at a time comes beneath the slit or opening in the top of the box, and thus, after the introduction of a payment into one or other of the upper receptacles the frame must be moved horizontally until that receptacle has delivered its contents into the one beneath it before a fresh payment can be introduced into the box.

I propose to provide the box with an alarm which will be sounded at each movement of the frame, by a projection thereupon acting upon a T lever, or in any convenient manner.

For the purpose of readily cleaning this Till I propose to hinge one of its faces and to provide it with a lock.

I may modify the above by placing bars or plates within grooves in a fixed upright, providing each bar with a pin or stud passing through diagonal slots in a second upright, which being moved up and down, by means of a handle operating a top pin or stud also moving in a diagonal slot, alternately opens and closes a series of receptacles or compartments; the payments descending from the one to the other and being exposed to view as in the first described arrangement. Glass may also be used in this arrangement so that the takings may be visible from one or both faces of the Till, as may be desired.

Instead of making the frame to move horizontally within the box, I might make it to pivot and drop the money from one bar to the other by simply tipping it to one side; and I propose to pivot it out of the centre so that the slit in its top must be brought by hand beneath the slit in the outer case for the introduction of the payment; a weight or other suitable means tipping it therefrom directly the handle is released; and I may place an alarm so that it shall sound each time the frame is moved to receive coin.--This Till may also be made with plates of glass permitting its contents being seen from both faces, or from one face only, as may be desired.

Instead of the bars or plates being fixed upon the sheets of glass they might be formed thereon in their manufacture.


SPECIFICATION in pursuance of the conditions of the Letters Patent filed by the said Jehu Christopher Cox in the Great Seal Patent Office on the 14th December 1883.

JEHU CHRISTOPHER COX Of 174 Queen Victoria Street in the City of London 5 and County of Middlesex “IMPROVEMENTS IN TILLS.”

My Invention relates to improvements in the construction of Tills whereby payments made over a Public House Bar, counter, or elsewhere, may be readily separated and the last two, three, four, or more takings thus kept apart be more readily visible than in other Tills or receptacles of this nature; my improved Till or money box being also of simple construction and little liable to get out of order, its action being sliding or pivoting.

My improved construction consists particularly in a vertical box or case provided with grooves or divisions, which in combination with bars or divisions upon a movable frame within the box or case form a series of receptacles or compartments which may be alternately opened and closed by the shifting of the movable frame; also in making this vertical case and movable frame transparent so that the contents of the receptacles may be seen from both sides of the case or box if desired; and further in the arrangement of an alarm so that it may be sounded at each shift of the movable frame and reception of another taking.

One form in which I construct my improved Till is shown on the accompanying Sheet of Drawing upon which:-

Figure 1, represents a front view of my improved till with door removed, my movable frame being shown on the left hand side.
Figure 2, is a similar view, but with frame moved to the right hand side.
Figure 3, is a front elevation of my Till with door closed.
Figure 4, being a section on line 1, 2, through Figure 1.
Figure 5, a similar view through line 3, 4, Figure 2, and,
Figure 6, represents a plan of Figure 3.

Similar letters of reference indicate similar parts in each of the Figures respectively.

A, being the vertical box or case.
B, its door.
C, the movable frame.
D, knob or handle for shifting same.
E, E, horizontal bars on frame C.
F, F, grooves in case A.
G, H, I, receptacles formed by the combination of bars E, with grooves F.
K, bowl or drawer beneath case A.
L, L, Openings for insertion of money in top of box or case.
M, Vertical bars, separating the receptacles into columns.
O, bell or alarm.
P, projection for working same.
Q, T lever.

It will be seen that my improved Till is composed of the vertical box or case A, within which traverses horizontally the frame C, carrying the bars or plates E, so arranged that in conjunction with the grooves F, formed in A, they, by a movement of the traversing frame C, in one direction form the bottom of a receptacle, G, for money introduced through the top of the box at L, and by its movement in the opposite direction open that receptacle G, and permit the money to fall from it into the receptacle H, beneath, from thence into I, and so on according to the number of receptacles provided. The money, thus descending lower and lower by each movement of the movable frame until it issues at the bottom into a closed or an open bowl K, or any suitable receiver.

The Bars M, placed vertically upon the inside of the box, separate the receptacles or compartments G, H, I, into two or more columns; and I would here observe that I might fix these vertical bars on the movable frame so as to push the coin off of the horizontal bars, which would then be fixed on the inside of the case or box A.

In order that the contents of each receptacle may be visible at a glance I make an opening in the front of my box, and prefer also that the movable frame C be made wholly or partially of glass, a piece of the same material forming a panel in the opposite face of the box; thus where convenient so to place this box or till the contents of the receptacles may be visible from either side of it.

I may make my Till with sliding frame C having bars upon both sides so as to form in conjunction with the divisions or grooves in the case A receptacles on each side of the frame, whereby I am enabled to receive and keep apart say coppers on one side of the frame and silver or gold on the other. In this case the door would be provided with grooves or divisions similar to those shown on the drawing on the back of the case, and its opening will be furnished with a glass panel.

The receptacles G, receive the money or taking through slits or openings in the top of the movable frame C, which openings are so arranged that only one of them at a time can come beneath the slit or opening L, L, in the top of the box, and thus after the introduction of a payment into one or other of the upper receptacles G, the frame C, must necessarily be moved horizontally until that receptacle has delivered its contents into the one H, beneath it and the alarm has been sounded, before a fresh payment can be introduced into the box.

I may operate the sounding of the alarm at each movement of the frame C, by means of a projection P, upon the frame C, acting upon a T lever Q, or I may cause the movable frame to sound this alarm by any suitable device.

For the purpose of readily cleaning this Till I hinge one or other of the faces of the box or case A, to form a door B, which I provide with a lock, but this Till may deliver by openings in the bottom into a drawer or any receiver above which it may be fixed.

I may modify the arrangement above described and shewn on the drawing by placing bars or plates within grooves in a fixed upright within the case A; each of these bars I provide with a pin or stud passing through diagonal slots in a second upright the equivalent of the above described movable frame C, moving vertically instead of horizontally, and which upon being moved up and down by means of a handle operating a top pin or stud also moving in a diagonal slot, alternately opens and closes a series of receptacles or compartments, the payment descending from one to the other and being exposed to view as in the arrangement shown on the drawing. Glass may also be used in this arrangement so that the taking may be visible from one or both faces of the Till as may be. desired.

Instead of making the frame C, to move horizontally as shewn, I may make it to pivot and drop the money from one receptacle or compartment to the other by simply tipping it to one side; and I propose to pivot it out of the centre so that the slit in its top must be brought by hand beneath the slit in the top of the case (A) for the introduction of the payment; a weight or other suitable means tipping it therefrom directly the handle is released--This Till may also be provided with an alarm to be sounded by the frame when moved to receive coin, and the frame and case be provided with plates of glass permitting the contents to be seen from both sides of the Till as above explained.

Instead of fixing bars or plates upon the sheets of glass they might be formed thereon in their manufacture.

I may make the case and frame of wood, of glass, of metal, or of any material or combination of materials which I may find desirable.

Having now Described and ascertained the nature of my said Invention and in what manner the same is or may be performed I would have it understood that I do not limit myself to the precise details above set forth as they may be varied while retaining the essential features of my Invention, and that what:-
I Claim as secured to me by the hereinbefore in part recited Letters Patent, is:-

Firstly:- A Till constructed, combined and arranged to operate substantially as hereinbefore described and shown on the accompanying Sheet of Drawing.

Secondly:- In a Till, the vertical frame (C) so constructed and arranged within the vertical box or case (A) as to form in combination therewith a series of receptacles or compartments G, H, I, which upon movement being given to the frame (C) alternately open and close permitting the contents introduced at the top to fall from one receptacle or compartment to another, substantially as described.

Thirdly:- In a Till having the movable frame (C) opening and closing a series of receptacles or compartments by traversing within the vertical case (A), providing the case with glass panels and making the frame (C) wholly or partially of glass so that the contents of the receptacles may be visible from both sides of the Till substantially as described.

Fourthly:- In a Till having a vertical movable frame (C) traversing within a vertical case or box (A) to open and close a series of receptacles, the combination of the movable frame (C) with a bell or alarm (O) in such a manner that the bell will sound upon each movement of the frame, substantially as described.

In witness whereof I the said Jehu Christopher Cox have hereunto set my hand and seal this Fourteenth day of December in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and eighty three

JEHU CHRISTOPHER COX (L.S.)

LONDON: Printed by EYRE AND SPOTTISWOODE,
Printers to the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty.
For Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.
1883.

 

19,053. October 24, 1892. Tills.
J. C. Cox, 174, Queen Victoria Street, London.

Relates to the class of tills in which coins pass from one compartment to another by the attendant operating a slide, as for example in the till described in Specification No. 2986, A.D. 1883. The object is to ensure a full stroke of the slide whenever the bell rings. For this purpose a plate g3 (shown detached in inverted plan in Fig. 4) is fitted to the slide and is provided with a projecting lip f and notches g2. At each stroke of the slide the lip f engages the double bevelled lever d whose cam-shaped end d3, d4, d3 operates a crutch e and so the bell hammer c2. The hammer is thus raised until the lip f sets the lever d free, when the parts are thrown back by the spring c4 and the bell rings. g is a pawl pressed upon by the springs g5, so that during the movement of the slide it engages in one direction or the other with the notches g2 and ensures that the movement of the slide, when sufficiently advanced to cause the bell to sound, shall be completed. At the end of each movement of the slide the pawl and lever assume a vertical position so that on the return stroke they reverse and operate in a similar manner in the opposite direction.


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Last revised: 14 October 2010

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