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Putting a stop to bank hold-ups (1917)

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Putting a stop to bank hold-ups

The latest burglar device, according to “The Electrical Experimenter,” is a mechanism designed to befriend the bank cashier in his hour of greatest need – when the muzzle of the hold-up man’s revolver is leveled at him. This publication goes into details:

Burglar detection is made a matter of certainty and simplicity by means of a device invented by Lee A Collins, of Louisville, Kentucky. Patents are pending on the invention.

With the installation of the alarm, a burglar in forcing or gaining an entrance sets in motion the mechanical device, which then summons the police, giving them the name and address of the person whose home or office is being entered.

Another type of the device does not operate with a phonograph attachment, but, instead, has a buzzer which warns central, who in turn reports the matter to the police. Another type of the invention has a bell which is controlled by thermostats and gives fire alarms as well as burglar alarms.

The alarm does not cease if a window or door is closed immediately after being opened, but continues at work until the connection is cut off.

The device is simple in construction and can be attached to any telephone. A special attachment makes it possible for bank or express company cashiers to start the mechanism by pressure of the foot or knee in the event an attempt is made at a hold-up. Two dry cell batteries operate the entire system.

If the bank cashier is held up, for instance, he simply obeys orders and throws up both hands if he deems it best, but his foot is busy meanwhile, and when the foot operated trip-switch closes the Collins automatic telephone alarm immediately gets busy. It raises the telephone hook (in another room, so the thief will not become desperate) and simultaneously starts a small phonograph located near the telephone. It carries a special record, announcing the bank’s name, the location and the news that the “thief’s here!” It repeats the message over and over again, notifying Central, who at once informs Police Headquarters.

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