Sherlock Holmes and the Sleepless Watchman

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Sherlock Holmes and the Sleepless Watchman is an article-ad published in Collier's on 27 october 1904.

This pastiche with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson is an advertising for a book of the "Columbus Recording Lock Company" (Columbus, Ohio, USA) describing "The Sleepless Watchman" a lock mechanism able to print records of the key inserted (time, shape, identity).

Pastiche / Ad

Collier's (27 october 1904, p. 27)

Sherlock Holmes and the Sleepless Watchman

"My Dear Watson," said Sherlock Holmes suddenly, this was in our lodgings in Baker street shortly before I was married. I had been nursing my old wound and plunging at intervals into a new treatise on Phloroglucin-Vanillin tests with preserved milk while Holmes pored over what appeared to be a bronze door plate with a small clock set in the face of it. "What do you make of this?" at the same time handing the plate to me. I knew the great man's methods and looked the plate over carefully, applying them, when Holmes interrupted me.

"A simple thing," said he, "and yet at the same time one, which when it is universally used, will, I'll wager, put Lestrade, stupid as he is, on a par with the best of us. He paused for a moment, as was sometime his habit and then continued, "Watson," he said, "the man who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it and I tell you frankly that this piece of mechanism will do more to prevent crime than you and I and all Scotland yard combined. Do you follow me now while I point out what it does, you will yourself note the value of it no doubt. "In the first place every time a key is inserted in the lock it prints a record." "It tells if the bolt was locked or unlocked, and what is more my dear Watson it records the exact time of each operation and tells who is the operator."

"You can readily imagine how quickly the burglary of Eckstein's diamond shop in the Strand would have been discovered if this had been used." It instantly detects a duplicate as well as a skeleton key."

"It also gives a record of the time and watchman who tries your door, and that, Watson, without his key in any way operating the bolt."

"It tells you if your shop or warehouse was properly locked at night and by whom."

"It tells you who opened your door in the morning and at what time."

"It tells if the place was entered between closing and opening time and by whom. You will remember the League of Red Headed Men. No doubt, it would have saved our hard headed friend a lot had he had it at the time. These, Watson, are but a few of the things that this most remarkable lock does and as I said before, this information is worth a good deal to anyone, be he merchant, shopkeeper, or banker, and it is information that you can absolutely secure in no other way."

"It's a watchman that is always alert, that is unerringly correct and that you cannot bribe or tamper with in any way. Rather remarkable, don't you think, Watson, this sleepless one?"

Don't you think that this lock which will tell you if your door has been locked or unlocked and who was the operator; that will tell you if the watchman tries your door and the time that he does it, that tells you what time your store or office was opened and closed, would be of value to you? It will cost you a cent a day for such a record. Can you afford to be without it? "The Sleepless Watchman" is the title of our book which tells all about it and which we will be pleased to send you upon request. Columbus Recording Lock Company, Box 743, Columbus, Ohio.