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Antique Safes/Denio & Roberts Safe


QUESTION: Hi I have a Denio & Roberts Safe I cant find the year of it but under their name is says markers Boston it is a key safe its very heavy and i don't know anything about it the only place i have looked for information is on the front of it i was wondering if you could tell me more about it and the value of it?

ANSWER: Gary, I am sorry for the delay but sometimes things slip by.  Denio & Roberts is one of those early companies which not a whole lot can be found on the internet.  A trip to the Boston Historical Society would likely reveal a good deal more.  But what I have found was that Charles Roberts joined the company of Denio & Cheney in 1849 and he had quit the business by 1872.  Sylvanus Denio has a least one patent for a prison lock and that's dated 1859.  The company is shown as having been an early maker of bank safe deposit equipment as well.  They made both burglar and fire safes as well as combined burglar/fire safes.  Your safe is most likely of 1850's-60's vintage being a key locking version. I am very interested in seeing a close up picture of the key and the safe if possible.  Doug

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QUESTION: Ok thank you very much i have attached pictures to this reply i am sending you.

Thanks for the pictures. Very nice, especially with the fancy wheel skirting, it is a great candidate for restoration.  I would encourage you to carefully remove the black paint and get down to the original which is likely in bad shape but will give you the original colors.  I would love to see the key lock but after removing the lock from a similar vintage Quirk Bros. New York safe, I don't recommend it unless absolutely necessary, which with yours is not the case since you have a working key.  Way too much work chopping out the insulation.  If you ever restore please post some pics.  Doug

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Doug MacQueen


This unusual and highly innovative safe from the later 1800's is a Corliss. William, the much younger brother of George Corliss of steam engine fame, spent several years perfecting this design and it was first displayed at the 1876 Philadelphia U.S. Centennial Exhibition. I do extensive patent research helping me in the study of antique U.S. safes and safe locks. Repairs and part making for antique U.S. safes of the early to mid 1800's, both key and combination. Also the study of early round door chest designs up to and including cannonball safes of the early 1900's.


40 years in the lock and safe trade with a stint in bank service work. Openings, repairs and moving of safes of all types.

Charter member Safe and Vault Technicians Association SAVTA, National Safemans Association NSO, National Antique Safe Association NASA. No longer current.

SAVTA monthly magazine

CMS (Certified Master Safecracker- NSO) and CPS (Certified Professional Safe Technician - SAVTA)

Awards and Honors
2nd place national combination manipulation contest 1986 and now in 2016 1st place

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