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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.

Experience in the area

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 No longer current.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

What do you like about this subject?

Working on the great locks from our past.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

For me, being on this forum is like a kid in a candy store. Many safe companies were sold in specific regions and are rarely seen outside of these areas. So many of the safes mentioned one here I have never worked on or in some cases even seen. Likewise, many of the lock and safe patents I've read, remain a mystery as to whether they ever saw the light of day. Hopefully they will turn up here.

Average Ratings

Recent Reviews from Users

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    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
Leanne09/29/16101010Thank you so much for your feedback!!
Richard09/29/16101010Thanks Doug for all your information.
Richard09/27/16101010Rapid response. Thanks for the info.
Penny09/09/16101010Thank you for your time!
Eddie 08/07/16He is no expert!!!!!!!

Recent Answers from Doug MacQueen

2016-10-14 Antique safe:

It does look to be in nice shape.  Late 1800's or early 1900's Diebold light wall fire resistant safe.  As to value, I think that what you were willing to pay for it has established its value to you better

2016-09-29 Old Treasury Department Safe:

Leanne, from what I can tell it is not a fire resistant safe and appears to be for burglary protection only. The best market for the safe would be to a gun collector who is interested in a higher degree

2016-09-27 Old safe:

I would not get overly enthusiastic on its value, especially as it sits now without a working key. It is as old or older than your house, which certainly puts it in the antique category. It does have a

2016-09-27 Old safe:

Well I have both good news and bad news.  The good news is that your safe is somewhat of a rare collectable.  I am fairly sure I have seen that key in knob lock before but so far I have been unable to

2016-09-26 Old safe:

Richard, where in Ohio are you located? Interesting safe you have there. Since I am not seeing a dial or keyhole, I would carefully check the handle. There were a few makers that used a key that fit into


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