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Antique Safes/improved salamander safe


manufactured by jos r. bryant boston. i need a key? and i would like to know whats the safe is worth? Some history on it. my dad had a junkyard another guy gave it to him with no key. Hasnt been open for a long time. im dying to see if anything in it. if its not worth anything i mite be able to torch the metal and break through the cement. but if worth something then i would like to see if someone would let me rent/borrow key to open it. Or if i learn enough find someone to lock pick it for me. No one around here can do it in NH. Id there a way to even get someone to trace there key and get a machine shop to make me one?

Samantha, since the odds are nothing is in the safe, it would be a crime to destroy it just to see whats in it.  I think its up to about 8 or 9 times where unknown valuables have been found in the several thousand safes I have opened over the years. If you factor out all the ones where the contents were known, it does make the odds considerably better though.  Unless you can find the original key to that safe, don't expect any other key to work, even it is from another Bryant safe. The only reference to Bryant I found was in the 1852 Boston city directory.  That and the fact it is a keylocking Salamander (fire resisting) safe puts it at around that date.  How much the safe is worth depends heavily on style and condition.  Pictures???  Yes I can make a pick for your safe and most likely pick it open.  Maybe if I get another job or two set up in New England this spring, it would be economically feasible for the both of us.  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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