If that's correct, then the flask is definitely NOT black powder, which
would be useless in blowing a safe. On the other hand, the "pitcher"
with the long spout in the upper left could be used to drip
nitroglycerine in through a bored hold.
I think that's it, Andy.
The text below is from the link that follows, it mentions the use of black
powder in opening a safe:
"For gunpowder (blackpowder) to be charged into a mechanism such as this
would require that a hole be drilled through the door plate. This would have
been done using either a belly brace or ratchet drill.
This was not always necessary however as in the early days the keylocks were
capacious enough to accept enough black powder, which, being detonated in
such a confined space could remove the lock cap and bolt allowing the
boltwork to be withdrawn."
I think both tools at the top were for blowing black powder into the keyhole
or a hole drilled in the safe.
On 11 Mar, 16:27, "Lloyd E. Sponenburgh" <lloydspinsidemindspring.com>
Blackpowder was used for a very long time in blowing safes. Unlike
Hollywood, the trick wasn't to "blow the safe" (ie burst the case) it
was merely to disrupt the lock. The solution to this was simple, the
"powder proof lock" which was strongly constructed but also designed
so that it had little internal empty space (sometimes by merely adding
a wooden filler plug to an existing lock). This meant that there was
no longer enough space to get a fill of the relatively weak black
powder in place.
Nitroglycerine in US safe-cracking practice was merely a more powerful
explosive. There was still enough room in a powder-proof lock that it
could be disrupted with a nitroglycerine charge. The solution to this
was the development of relockers - mechanical devices that if the lock
mechanism was destroyed would simply wedge the bolts in place
permanently (it was then a long and noisy task for a locksmith to
dismantle the safe, often requiring a replacement safe).
The British "gelly boys" developed a rather more sophisticated
approach. Having had military experience of high velocity explosives,
they realised that a shock wave could be used to cut the plate of the
safe, without destroying the contents too. A hole was drilled in the
plate and their secret weapon deployed on the inside - a condom. This
was then filled with nitroglycerine (made at home by extracting it
from commercial gelignite). Because of the good contact, the shock
wave from a small quantitiy of nitroglycerine was enough to break the
safe plate (and the more hardened it was, the better).
If you have a safe that old, it's probably worth more now than the
contents. Those were iron (not steel) safes, made of plates held
between L-angle corner frames. They could be attacked by "peeling",
taking each of the several plates out one-by-one by levering them up
from a corner, like a big tin opener.
The US defence against that was the "cannonball" safe. Spherical, cast
in one piece, with no corners, no thin plates and a single skin layer
that you had to attack all in one go (or usually fail to). Britain
used better(sic - British hardened steel wasn't too good at first)
flat steel plates in single thick plates. Later the safe began to be
made by folding rather than joining and "round cornered" safes
appeared. The sides, top and bottom were formed as one piece, with the
join underneath, and were hard to attack from the sides. These still
needed to have front and back inserted and so they were weaker than
the sides. Some safe breakers were known to cut through a wall to get
to the back, as still being the weakest route in.
My guesses this week (and pretty much just guesses):
1873 - This looks like a watchmaker's fixture of some manner to me.
Perhaps it's used to locate where holes should be placed in dials for
the shafting that moves the hands?
1874 - Very strange looking lever; perhaps it is used to open a can or
bottle of some kind (in Alaska)?
1875 - I'd guess this to be part of a searchlight or similar light
fixture, perhaps using an arc light (for which the holders are
adjustable). It would seem that there ought to be a reflector or lens
1876 - Grate thingy clamped around a gas burner to support a pot, making
a stove of sorts?
1877 - Would this be used by a telephone installer/lineman? If so,
there are a few key pieces missing (like a soldering iron and wire
cutters). The glass vial would presumably contains carbon granules for
1878 - Homemade looking parabolic microphone, used to record or monitor
sounds directly underneath while rejecting sounds from other directions.
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot
1874. This looks like a gauge to measure sheets of paper or card stock.
1875. The name Henry LePaute is associated with lighthouses. The device
may be a gimbaled lighting device. The electrical contacts on the front
could have held a lamp element.
1876. Perhaps something that attaches to a fence post to prevent animals
from pushing against it.
Posting from Rec.crafts.metalworking as always.
1873) My guess as to the function is to define/layout the spacing
of bearing points for gears in a clock or watch type object.
(This could include things like dial indicators and such as
1874) Looks rather nasty. At a guess, it is for picking up something
like as stove lid.
1875) Looks as though it was designed to orient prisms or jewels for
some purpose. Since it does not have visible angle scales, I'll
say that it was not likely used for things like X-ray
Hmm ... a (probably slow) electric motor to rotate the one part.
1876) Another form of horse hobble? Looks as though it clips around
the ankle of something the size of a horse's leg.
1877) Well ... several of the parts on the bottom center and right
assemble to make a breast drill. The bottle looks to contain
gunpowder (black powder). The top left thing looks like a torch
fueled by alcohol, gasoline, or something similar. Left just
above the bottom-most object looks like a fueled lamp of some
sort. Not any clue what the triple-cone thing is for, and not
enough detail about the can type thing near the bottom left to
tell. One of the drill bits looks more like a long wood screw.
1878) Too thin to be a vacuum chamber, especially without a safety
cage around it. Wires coming in from the chain attachment point
nearest the point of view.
At a guess -- for setting off mild explosions held between the
two strange blocks.
Now to see what others have suggested.
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