What is Chattel Mortgage?

Legal Definition
Chattel mortgage, sometimes abbreviated CM, is the legal term for a type of loan contract used in some states with legal systems derived from English law.

Under a typical chattel mortgage, the purchaser borrows funds for the purchase of movable personal property (the chattel) from the lender. The lender then secures the loan with a mortgage over the chattel. Legal ownership of the chattel is transferred to the purchaser at the time of purchase, and the mortgage is removed once the loan has been repaid.

Chattel mortgages may have more particular characteristics in different jurisdictions.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
An antiquated term for a mortgage on personal goods (as opposed to real estate) where the lender holds an interest in the property as security for the loan. Today these arrangements are referred to as "security agreements".
Legal Definition
An instrument of sale of personalty conveying the title of the property to the mortgagee with terms of defeasance; and, lf the terms of redemption are not complied with, then, at common law, the title becomes absolute in the mortgagee. Means v. Montgomery (C. C.) 23 Fed. 421; Stewart v. Slater, 6 Duer (N. Y.) 99.

A transfer of personal property as security for a debt or obligation in such form that, upon failure of the mortgagor to comply with the terms of the contract, the title to the property will be in the mortgage. Thomas, Mortg. 427. An absolute pledge, to become an absolute interest if not redcemed at a fixed time. Cor-telyou v. Lansing, 2 Caines, Cas. (N. Y.) 200, per Kent, Ch.

A conditional sale of a chattel as security for the payment of a debt or the performance of some other obligation. Jones, Chat Mortg. § 1. Alferitz v. Ingalls (0. Ct) 83 Fed. 964; People v. Remington, 59 Hun, 282, 12 N. Y. Supp. 824, 14 N. Y. Supp. 98; Allen v. Steiger, 17 Colo. 562, 31 Pac. 226.

A chattel mortgage is a conditional transfer or conveyance of the property itself. The chief distinctions between it and a pledge are that in the latter the title, even after condition broken, does not pas9 to the pledgee, who has only a lien on the property, but remains in the pledgeor, who has the right to redeem the property at any time before its sale. Besides, the possession of the property must, in all cases, accompany the pledge, and, at a sale thereof by the pledgee to satisfy his demand, he cannot become the purchaser ; while by a chattel mortgage the title of the mortgagee becomes absolute at law, on the default of the mortgagor, and it is not essential to the validity of the instrument that possession of the property should be delivered, and, on the foreclosure of the mortgage, the mortgagee is at liberty to become the purchaser. Mitchell v. Roberts (C. C.) 17 Fed. 778; Campbell v. Parker, 22 N. Y. Super. Ct. 322; People v. Remington, 59 Hun, 282, 12 N. Y. Supp. 824, 14 N. Y. Supp. 98; McCoy v. Lassiter, 95 N. C. 91; Wright v. Ross, 36 Cal. 414; Thurber v. Oliver (G. C.) 26 Fed. 224; Thompson v. Dolliver, 132 Mass. 103; Lobban v. Garnett, 9 Dana (Ky.) 389.

The material distinction between a pledge and a mortgage of chattels is that a mortgage is a conveyance of the legal title upon condition, and it becomes absolute in law if not redeemed by a given time ; a pledge is a deposit of goods, redeemable on certain terms, either with or without a fixed period for redemption. In pledge, the general property does not pass, as in the case of mortgage, and the pawnee has only a special property in the thing deposited. The pawnee must choose between two remedies,—a bill in chancery for a judicial sale under a decree of foreclosure, or a sale without judicial process, on the refusal of the debtor to redeem, after reasonable notice to do so. Evans v. Darlington, 5 Blackf. (Ind.) 320.

In a conditional sale the purchaser has merely a right to repurchase, and no debt or obligation exists on the part of the vendor; this distinguishes such a sale from a mortgage. Weathers-ly v. Weathersly, 40 Miss. 462, 90 Am. Dec. 344.
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A mortgage of goods, chattels, or personal property. See Chattel Mortgage.
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A mortgage of personal property. See 137 Am. St. Rep. 472, note.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary