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Antique Safes/cleaning tumblers


tumblers  case safe
tumblers case safe  

last number
last number  
Hi again  I was wondering if I could spray some silicone on the tumblers as seam a little sticky when turning especially when going after the first number  since it has to be turned 5 times , and by the looks of the front dial  I am guessing the last number will be the number 10 , have not tried yet , I think I can guess the location where the slots should be as I did put them back and got the pins to retract , so it does work  just more playing . So if not silicone spray  any thing else that does not get sticky as some of the concrete is cracked and looks like it has a lot of dust on the insides , I know I have not been the first in there as one of the lower screws was wrong they tried a 8/32 in  and it should have been a 6/32 , made one a little longer so it grabbed the good threads  back in the hole. Mike

I dis-assemble the wheels and thoroughly clean them with non flammable brake cleaner.  Inspect that all the flys (the little rings) have good freedom in their slots.  Clean the wheel isolation washers and the wheel post.  A very thin coat of light lube on the washers and wheel post. Very thin! What you are trying to do is reduce the overall amount of friction. There is usually a large washer underneath the wheels that may be bowed and if it is, flatten it to help  establish the proper friction.  Often reducing overall friction results in wheel walk on the last number wheel.  A slight bow in the last isolation washer will cure that.  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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