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Antique Safes/Silas C Herring safe


Hi, I just purchased a Silas C Herring safe the plaque on the front has Sallamander safe. 1843. 139 Water St. Manufactured by Silas C. Herring N. York Wilders patent on the front, with a plaque or plate on front of safe depicts four men in top hats, and a fireplace, Number on safe handle - 8915. It has a 'grasshopper' lock, but no key, is it possible to some how open this safe in order to get a key made, and if so How?, the last resort I guess if the answer is no, is maybe to cut a hole underneath or through the back?, or cut the hinges?, thanks Linda

Linda, please do not even think about cutting the bottom, back or hinges.  It will not help just hurt.  Your first goal is to search out the best locksmith or safe tech you can find.  They must be capable of making the key from scratch, in addition to peek hole picking the lock.  Bottom line is they must have a certain amount of machining capability.  Once you have found that person, if they are not familiar with lock, there is a lot found online.  It will not be a cheap job.  Once you have found the right person to do the job and they have done some research on the lock, I can help further.  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 No longer current.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

Past/Present Clients

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