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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Aberdeenshire
    Posts
    401
    Country: Great Britain

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    Quote Originally Posted by magpie View Post
    I remember hearing a story, about wood in Milner door pans, many years ago. Apparently, one method of opening some of their earlier safes, was to locate the six lock fixing bolts, where they come through to the outer surface of the door, and to knock them out with a hammer and punch, so the lock falls to the bottom of the door pan. Sounds like a long and noisy process, but possible. Maybe a drill would have been better, assuming they weren't hardened. The closely fitting wood keeps the lock roughly in place, so the door bolts can't be withdrawn. Some angle iron around the lock, fixed to the door pan, would have achieved the same result, so I don't know if the story is true.
    Yes Magpie, the story is more or less true. In earlier times safe mechanics as they were then called, carried templates of Milner and Ratner locks which enabled them to locate each of the six fixing bolts with reference from the keyhole. Punching out without pre-drilling sounds unrealistic. Having centre-punched each position it usually revealed the end of the blind hole into which the bolt was fixed and which was then drilled with a 5/16th to a depth which cleared the door plate and the hard plate. It was then simple to punch out each bolt.

    The Milner safes with wooden inserts were only produced for a short time from 1854 as they were seriously criticised by rival Geo.Price as being more susceptible to gunpowder attack where the charge would be more confined within the wood. Incidentally the lock which Milner was using at this early stage was the Hobbs made gunpowder-proof Milner Patent also of 1854 with different profile and most unusually locked up.

    So, while the wooden inserts would have prevented the Hobbs lock from disengagement, this would only have applied for a very short period.

    Lastly, at that time the six holes would have had to be drilled by belly-brace and hand hardened spade drills. From personal experience I know how difficult this can be when there is no power on the premises even when using modern twist drills but with a hand-drill.

    P.S. In later years Milner bolted a pressed steel shroud on top of their locks in their List 3 qualities to over come this weakness. Very frustrating if you've already drilled off the lock.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    1,419
    Country: Wales

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    Perhaps Tom might have a point when he suggests the possibility of the wooden blocks being a later addition?

    Looking at Stephane's photo and in particular at the wood in the lower half, focus directly below where the tail-bar slides on the guide and bracket (the wood has been cut to fit under it). I would expect to see a lot of staining there from 150+ years of rust and fine powder falling down from the abrasive action above. Instead, it looks one of the cleanest areas of wood in the entire door !
    Huw

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Aberdeenshire
    Posts
    401
    Country: Great Britain

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Huw Eastwood View Post
    Perhaps Tom might have a point when he suggests the possibility of the wooden blocks being a later addition?

    Looking at Stephane's photo and in particular at the wood in the lower half, focus directly below where the tail-bar slides on the guide and bracket (the wood has been cut to fit under it). I would expect to see a lot of staining there from 150+ years of rust and fine powder falling down from the abrasive action above. Instead, it looks one of the cleanest areas of wood in the entire door !
    Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    1,419
    Country: Wales

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    Safeman, my post didnt question the purpose of the wooden blocks in the door, but whether the blocks in Stephane's example are Milners' originals or were perhaps added at a later date.
    Huw

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