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Identification and help with wall safe

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Daggers

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Post Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:17 pm

Identification and help with wall safe

A family member bought an old house and found this wall safe. Pics here: http://imgur.com/a/1UisO. The dial is missing and there's a knob to the left that turns with some resistance at times. It feels like when I turn it there's something striking the wheel pack but then passing it. Here's a video of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaaT-8fwM6c I also used both hands later and had one hand turning the spindle while my other hand turned the knob and no noticeable difference could be felt in either the knob or the spindle at any positions for either one. I didn't have a plier or tools so I couldn't spin the spindle better but I'll be back in a few days.

If anyone has more information on the type of lock this is, or just on the lock itself, that would be great. I've never seen a lock like this. I thought it would be a direct drive at first but the handle spins in both directions as much as you want to spin it, nothing connects with the wheel pack. It might be broken but maybe it's another type.
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madsamurai

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Post Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:50 pm

Re: Identification and help with wall safe

Did a little googling... "manufactured by Murphy Bed & Door Company in Chicago, IL sometime between 1922 and the late 1930s. It was originally produced for use in a small hotel in the Chicago area." There seem to be a good number of them floating around sites like this one. Looks like it had an 80 number dial.

Also found a tweet by Squelchtone where he opened one back in 2014, with a potentially helpful hint https://twitter.com/squelchtone/status/538407127568887809
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bitbuster

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Post Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:23 am

Re: Identification and help with wall safe

There are no gates on the outer edge of the wheels, but rather on the inside of the wheels. Three 1.5" wheels. Handle rotation: pull out about 0.25" and turn CCW.
"I dream of a world where, chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned."......Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Daggers

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Post Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:44 am

Re: Identification and help with wall safe

Thanks for the replies guys! Next time I'm over there I'll try and fit a dial on and manipulate it. The owner is also thinking about drilling it if i can't open it. I don't like the idea but I'll only get one more chance to see it before leaving the area. Does anyone know of drill points for minimum damage? Or if anyone is in the Provo, Utah area and wants a shot at it I can talk to the owner about that.
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Squelchtone

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Post Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:28 pm

Re: Identification and help with wall safe

Daggers, manipulating it will be difficult, I tried and it doesn't graph like a normal safe because the wheels are actually ... how do I say it..(oops bitbuster already said it) inverted where the gates are at the center of the wheel, not on the outside rim of each wheel, it's actually a neat little mechanism. There is a very efficient and quick way to DE these without any drilling if they dont mind then doing some minor repair work to get the safe back into working condition. I have gut shots on my camera at home, and will PM you the DE method, unless moderators are ok with me posting it since it is such an old safe and probably no public danger if the info is out on that particular model from the 1920's.

my feeble attempts at using an audio amp to listen to the safe and to see differences in distance of the direct entry mechanism, that's a bottle cap screwed to the handle post with a sweeper bristle going through it as a needle
Image

talk soon,
Squelchtone
Last edited by Squelchtone on Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:56 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Daggers

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Post Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:34 pm

Re: Identification and help with wall safe

Some gut shots would be very welcome, it sound like an interesting mechanism. And that DE method would be nice too!
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Squelchtone

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Post Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:33 pm

Re: Identification and help with wall safe

PMed with Daggers, watched his video of the left dial being able to spin, which it normally should not, so it is probably disconnected from the big metal wheel inside that retracts the bolts. Will provide gut shots tonight, and plan another attack. I suspect normal drill point wont be effective because the bolts still need to be retracted somehow.
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Squelchtone

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Post Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:07 am

Re: Identification and help with wall safe

Daggers,
Hope this pics help you out, here is the album: http://imgur.com/a/g5QMy

super x-ray view, the safe and bolts are in the extended/locked position, the ablum above shows them retracted/unlocked, click link above. yes, that's a bunch of Asbestos.
http://i.imgur.com/4heTqDP.jpg
Image

the wheelpack is very interesting the bolt work cannot move left and right unless the wheels are aligned. nothing "drops in" like a regular modern safe lock.
http://i.imgur.com/BCGuklQ.jpg
Image


can you spot the retracted top bolt work?? its not very big but it does the job. There is one at 12,9, and 6 oclock of the left dial, if looking from the outside.
http://i.imgur.com/opskXKE.jpg
Image
Enjoy,
Squelchtone
Last edited by Squelchtone on Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Daggers

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Post Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:15 am

Re: Identification and help with wall safe

Nice pics! Thanks for that. Definitely gives me a better idea of ways to attack it. I'll post an update after I go over on Monday.
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Squelchtone

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Post Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:25 am

Re: Identification and help with wall safe

I was thinking about your left dial sorta dialing around and getting tougher to dial in one spot but then it get easy.. remove the flat head screw and see if the dial is seated on the post all the way, press the dial against the post and see if it still free spins... put the screw back in and tighten in. then do the vice grips thing I PMed you about. I'm not sure what to do if the dial/post just free spin, that means it's somehow disconnected from the bigger wheel behind it.
good luck!
Squelchtone
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Daggers

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Post Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:30 am

Re: Identification and help with wall safe

I'll give that a shot! I get a few hours with it Monday so I'll try all the ideas that everyone has given me so far.
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Daggers

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Post Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:02 pm

Re: Identification and help with wall safe

I got the safe open! Unfortunately, I had to drill the bolts but thanks to the pics from squelchtone, I was able to do that easily. Here's the pics: http://imgur.com/a/dhIdn The top and bottom I unnecessarily drilled twice. The first holes were almost spot one for each and just needed a little wiggling of the drill bit to get the last of the bolt. I was able to salvage the parts and when I return home in a few days I'll try and mount them on wood.

As for the problem of the knob spinning, I realized that if I spun the knob to a specific position, it would push in and then be locked in place. But it would easily pull out again and start spinning again. After taking the lock out, I couldn't see where the problem was.

Also, I missed a piece and left it back there. It was the black piece that's shaped like eyeglasses/a figure 8 in the second picture in the album. How important is that piece to the working of the lock? It didn't look like the one squelchtone has, has that piece.
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Squelchtone

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Location: Springfield MA USA

Post Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:57 pm

Re: Identification and help with wall safe

Daggers wrote:I got the safe open! Unfortunately, I had to drill the bolts but thanks to the pics from squelchtone, I was able to do that easily. Here's the pics: http://imgur.com/a/dhIdn The top and bottom I unnecessarily drilled twice. The first holes were almost spot one for each and just needed a little wiggling of the drill bit to get the last of the bolt. I was able to salvage the parts and when I return home in a few days I'll try and mount them on wood.

As for the problem of the knob spinning, I realized that if I spun the knob to a specific position, it would push in and then be locked in place. But it would easily pull out again and start spinning again. After taking the lock out, I couldn't see where the problem was.

Also, I missed a piece and left it back there. It was the black piece that's shaped like eyeglasses/a figure 8 in the second picture in the album. How important is that piece to the working of the lock? It didn't look like the one squelchtone has, has that piece.


I just saw your reply, congrats on the open! was there anything inside? also, I'm not sure about the eyeglass shaped piece, I dont have my safe anymore, it's at Trump Tower in NYC, some rich guy bought it from me on ebay.

it sounds like the vice grips trick would have worked if you had know about pressing the knob in at that one specific spot, but hindsight is always 20/20.. etc.

kudos!
Squelchtone
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Daggers

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Post Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:08 pm

Re: Identification and help with wall safe

Thanks! I actually tried the vice grip trick many times but the problem was the the knob is slightly indented and the edge of it wasn't flat, but angled. So it wasn't able to stay pushed in, the angle of the vice grips always popped it out. Nothing was inside unfortunately, except a whole lotta cancer. Opening the back cover of the door revealed what looked like asbestos. Paint might be lead paint too if it's from the late 20's.

When you say some rich guy bought yours, is it a safe that has value? If so, I feel bad for drilling it haha.

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