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Antique Safes/Detour ???


I have a purchased a few safes over the years for my collection. But recently bought one with an odd item screwed to the inside of the safe door right behind the combination lock. Its a red metal box about 8" long by 3" wide. The brass tag on it says "Detour Saftey Protector, Didier Saftey equipment Company". I did't think much about it until I unscrewed it and opened it up. Inside is a glass tube in a long u-shape that has a clear liquid in it. Now I'm freaked out. Do you have any idea what this might be?? Thanks Gil Smith. I can send you a picture if that helps.


Yes this would be a chemical Tear Gas canister or vial.  The liquid inside is probably either CS or CN type tear gas.   Because of the severe reactions that can be had to these chemicals, they are considered a HAZMAT item, and may infact be illegal for you to possess.  Having it attached to your safe, may also be considered "booby trapping" which is a felony in most states.

Contacting your local PD or Fire department to have them removed MAY result in their Bomb Squad and/or HAZMAT disposal team being called out.  Bottom line - you may wind up with a huge fine AND be responsible for the cost of both units and/or disposal of the item.

I also don't recommend removal of this container as a DIY project.   If you accidently drop it in your house while removing it, you may not be able to return to the house for several weeks to several months.   Inhalation of CS or CN gas by someone who has any type of breathing problems MAY result in death or sever reactions, which may require hospitalization.

My recommendation would be to have a trained safe technician from a local safe company, remove the vials for disposal.   Cost will be much less, and you won't have the bomb squad at your house!!!

If you do decide to make this a DIY project, don't just take it outside to dispose of it as the cloud of gas may move into an area where someone would be affected.   If you have to break the vial, do it in a remote area such as a rock quarry, where the gas will dissipate rather quickly and no one will be around to breath it in.

Again, this is a dangerous item, which must be handled with care.  As long as the glass vial does not crack or break, it will be "slightly" safe to handle.   DIY Projects are at your own risk, and if you do break the vial, you will probably have some explaning to do, to the local PD!!!

If you do get photos of the device and tube, I would like to have them as I'm always trying to update my library for reference material for others.   Send the photos to me at:

Hope this helps.

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.


44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes". Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf

Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 Listed in AllExperts top 50 Experts. All Experts Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service area is Northern California - Fresno to Oregon, including western Nevada

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