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Antique Safes/Corliss & cannonball dials & crank?


Doug why are there 2 dials & a crank on the Corliss & some cannonball safes? How do they work?
 High regards, J.W. Lewis

J.W., 2 locks allows for a backup in case one fails.  There are also 2 crankshafts on the Corliss, one for the circular locking ring and the second to draw the door face inward, allowing the inner ball to be spun 180 deg. like a lazy susan.  Then the money compartments can be accessed.  Only the Corliss works like this, all the other cannonball safes have round doors that are hinged and open outward.  Do a search for Corliss and you will find more info. 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 No longer current.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

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