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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    16
    Country: Spain

    Default Who made this safe

    Given that I live in Spain and that I am seeking information on what is ( I think) a French floor safe, I may be asking questions of the wrong forum but hopefully you chaps will be interested to see it so here goes.

    It is 24'' Wide x 33'' High x 16'' Deep and I do not have the dial code, only two keys. The right hand key cover is blank.

    The name plate - Viladot Barcelona is I think the supplier and I am hoping to find out who made it and the model.

    I have seen quite a few similar alphabet safes on the web but they are generally 3 dial, the few 4 dial are quite different to my own safe and i have seen just one 5 dial.

    All 4 dials on the safe are identical and there are only 25 letters on each ( there being no letter W ). Someone at some time has drilled a 1/2'' hole exactly in the centre of the back plate and I can just see a large diagonal cross bolt/plate about 2'' wide behind the door. It is still very shiny inside and all the dials turn easily therefore it appears to be in good order.
    Given the dryness of this almost desert location, rust is never a problem here.

    Between 1880 and 1950 a French Mining Company operated many mines in this area and I hope to find out if this safe might have been installed originally by this Co. We actually live in one of the old mine office buildings, now significantly extended and modernised into a comfortable home.

    The small key, I have no ideas about but assume it may be for a box or drawer inside the safe. The main key comes up solid when turned anti-clockwise but appears to want to move something when turned a short way to the right.

    Any clues as to the possible maker/origin/year of manufacture/locking mechanism etc etc would be extremely welcome, and who knows, maybe one day I will be able to open it but for now, here are some pictures
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    Thanks in anticipation

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio USA
    Posts
    1,270
    Country: United States

    Default

    I looked through about 25 different French safes from the 1800's and came up with nothing. Many use the 4 dial locks, usually on a circular plate. Only one had a square plate, but the key escutcheons were different. None had similar escutcheons. That hole in the back may have been done by a locksmith. On many of these safes, the boltwork is exposed, and it sounds like yours is as well. I think if you can find a locksmith with experience on these dial locks, I think it can be manipulated by applying pressure from the rear.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    592
    Country: Bulgaria

    Default

    Can't help you, but what a beautiful thing to own!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    16
    Country: Spain

    Default Enquiries in France

    My thanks to you both for your interest and I think I may have uncovered a clue as to a possible manufacturer.

    I speak French quite well so not too difficult for me to do research in French and I have come up with a chapter from a book written in 1920 and on page 465 there are diagrams of a similar 4 dial lock.

    Here is the link which I hope you will find interesting (if you have not already seen it).
    http://frenchkey.fr/public/Science_et_Vie_1920.pdf

    There may be another clue in the fact that every old alphabet dial lock that I have seen so far has the alphabet reading anti-clockwise, whereas on my safe and also the dials in this old book are reading clockwise.

    My next step will be to post some questions on a couple of French forums and I will let you know how I get on.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    16
    Country: Spain

    Default Still no makers name

    Well the safe is now open and I have repaired all the damage caused by other people trying to open it in the past.
    The lock mechanisms have now been serviced and I have made 2 new keys and the safe is now in good working order, but I have still not found who made it.

    I had hoped there might be a makers mark or number somewhere inside, but nothing whatever, does anyone know if this was normal practice, or could it be there is an identifying mark hidden somewhere that I have not yet found.

    Thanks.

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