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Antique Safes/opening a cary safe


First, I have a small (300 lb?)Cary safe, 55041.  I was getting ready to change the combination, took the inside plate off with two plates.  I needed to move a desk past the safe so I closed the door to make room and the immediate  'Oh, Shit!' moment was when I instinctively turned the handle. Now, is there any way to get the handle to open?  I have tried jiggling the handle back and forth as I slowly turn the dial but to no avail.  

Ott, yes this is the moment we safecrackers wait for.  Sorry I couldn't resist.  It sounds like you did remove the wheel pack. Try putting the dial on 40. If the handle still doesn't throw, the lock probably has a relocker and the safe will need to be drilled.  Time to call the Culligan man.  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 No longer current.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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