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Question
gentleman,
I am the owner of a Victor strong box.  The exterior has the intials
QMCUS,quarter master corp United states-I imagine a strong box for paying military folks.  The combo  lock is broken and not original.
The original from pictures I have seen are brass.  Perhaps you can direct me where I could find one for sale.  The interior of the box is dated 1911.
Thanks,
Steve

Answer
Steve,

These are termed "Field Chests".   Generally in the military, they did not use these chest for "Military Pay".   The military did however use them as field chests for security of almost everything else.   These chest's have been used by the Military, manufactured by a dozen manufacturers from the civil war including current conflicts (though current ones are much more modern).

So while it does seem more "romantic" to assume that it held military pay, more than likely it was simply a field chest, used to hold documents, or other items.

Also, most of these containers used key locks, NOT combination locks.   While having one with a combination lock is not normal, it does not make the container "rare", and chances are just as likely that the lock was added or converted  to a combination lock at a later date.

As for finding replacement locks - there is no aftermarket source for similar locks (the market is simply too small), and there is also no listing amongst locksmiths and safe companies listing locks that are available.    While these companies may have boxes of parts laying around, there is simply no incentive to inventory these items to post for sale - again the market for these items is simply too small.

So bottom line you have a couple options - simply keep the lock and container the way they are - as a nice conversation piece or collectible, or you can make or have made the parts that you need, or you can - first ID the parts or lock that you need, before checking with every lock and safe company to see if they might have a replacement in their old parts.

NOTE:   If you don't, or are unable to accurately ID the lock, most companies aren't going to waste any time looking for any items.   Time spend digging through old parts is wasted time if you don't have a really good idea of what you are looking for.

Hope this gives you some ideas.   I've discussed this very idea of getting some type of listing available for all of us to use, and while most think it is a great idea, no one is willing to spend the time to inventory, categorize, and list what they have.    Many of these lock & safe companies have these older parts as part of their collection, which are NOT for sale, unless the price is right.

Sorry, I can't be of more help.  

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

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

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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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