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Antique Safes/Got locked out of my safe


Chubb Lock
Chubb Lock  

Chubb Lock
Chubb Lock  
After i broke my safe key i decided to a lock smith to get a new one cut, i had a spare so that wasn't a problem, but then the key wasn't working properly so i took out lock shut the door and went to get things fixed. When i came back tried to open the safe it was locked shut, without the lock in its place. Tried all means to open it no luck still. the down side is i don't know the actual model of the safe all i know is its a chubb old one for sure, it has a double locking system though the other key was not being used. I show you the lock it took out of the door maybe you might figure out what model it is and how to open it without destroy it.

Hi Ronnie,

Most (real) safes, have relocking devices built into them to protect against burglary type attacks.   Basic burglar concept - remove the lock, by what ever means, and open the safe.

Manufacturers designed many safes so that "IF" the lock is attacked, punched out, or removed, the relocking device would activate, keeping the door locked shut.

A relocking device would be similar to having a little tiny man inside your safe welding it shut, in the event of a burglary or attack - to protect the contents.

When you removed the lock, with the door open (bolt work retracted), you probably activated the relocking device.   When the door closed and the bolt work was extended, it allowed the activated relocking device to fire off, deadlocking the bolt work.

Unfortunately your safe doesn't have the capability of differentiating between your working on the safe and removing the lock AND a burglar attempting to break in to the safe by removing the lock.    Based on your description of the problem, you inadvertently activated the relocking device by removing the lock.

This is one of the reasons that I NEVER recommend ANY lock disassembly on a safe as a DIY project.    Generally when a relocking device has been activated the only way to deactivate it is to drill the safe.   When done by a professional safe technician this can be done without ruining the safe.    as the lock is currently out of the safe, if you have the availability of a flexible fiberoptic inspection scope, you might be able to see the device to deactivate it, if not, you will need the assistance of a safe technician or safe engineer from a local safe company.

Sorry, to have to give you the bad news, however there probably isn't an easy way out of this one.    If you can't identify the relocking device through the key hole, AND deactivate it, then you may have a very expensive paper weight.

Unfortunately I don't have any contacts in Zimbabwe to send you to for help.   There are several safe companies (manufacturers) in South Africa and in Swaziland.   They may have a safe technician or safe engineer on staff or they may know of one that can help you.

Mutual Safe Company  (head office)
325 Zasm Street, Waltloo, 0184, Pretoria, SA

Chubb Safes
Gunnebo South Africa (Pty) Ltd
Private Bag X023
Visiting Address:105 Nagington Road
Tel:+27 (0)11 878 2300
Fax:+27 (0)11 827 7765

Hope this helps you out.   Sorry I can't be of more help, but this is basically going to be a hands on project.  

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


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.


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

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

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

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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