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Antique Safes/Hobnail safe


Hobnail safe 1
Hobnail safe 1  
My father has recently received a hobnail safe.  We tried gathering more information about it on the web, but we haven't been able to identify the safe to any maker. I would like to know if you can recognize the maker of it and any other information that you could give us. Thank you.

Jasie Landeros

Jasie, I am pretty sure I have not seen one like yours.  I am not even sure that it was made in the U.S.  Examination of the lock may help in that regard.  Contrary to what you may find written about hobnail safes, I have no doubt there were small makers of hobnail safes both here and abroad that are virtually unknown.  Any good blacksmith and carpenter could build one.  If hundreds or thousands were made by a company then the odds of identifying the maker increase considerably.  I have found that removing the lock is not usually very difficult, at least on the ones I have worked on.  Removing the back cover of the door and taking pictures of the lock is the only thing I can suggest to help in this mystery.  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 No longer current.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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