How To Crack An Antique Mosler Safe

Many years ago, my father was the part owner of a local bank. When I would accompany him to the bank as a young boy, the big vault door always fascinated me. I would stand next to the open door and study the lock workings through the glass panel on the back of the door, hoping eventually to figure out how to crack its secrets. Years later, I purchased the old cash safe out of that same vault and now have it on display in my office as an antique. That old safe frequently comes to mind because one decision that a gold and silver investor has to make is where to keep the darn stuff. There are several options.

You can put your cache in a bank safe deposit box, you can leave it on deposit with your broker, you can bring it home and lock it up in your own safe, you can hide it, you can invest in a fund that sells shares of gold stored in a bonded vault, you can buy mining shares, you can buy futures and so forth. The list is almost endless.

If you are investing for security, however, there is nothing like having a little gold and silver at home in a safe so that you can always get to it regardless of what happens. I am not talking about having large portions of metals stored at home, but modest amounts. If that thought makes you jittery, just think of what you have stored in your garage in “rolling stock.” Most people do not think twice about leaving their $40,000 car outside in the driveway. You need only simply take reasonable precautions with a reasonable amount of metals, beyond that you move on to other investing venues. In the past, manufacturers made safes massive because they locked up real money.

I purchased this Mosler safe. As you can see, it is open and empty, so there is no hanky panky going on: The combination, as written on the masking tape stuck on the safe, slightly modified to preserve all numbers order, is as follows: R 63. Technically, lock manipulation is the process of opening a locked safe without drilling or defacing the safe in any way. As the name implies, you use the lock against itself to discover the combination. This method is ideal because it requires few, if any, tools and is, by far, the most discreet way to crack a safe. It does, however.

How To Crack An Antique Mosler Safe

Take an afternoon and visit the local used safe dealer in your town. (Stay away from the new safes at retail outlets. You can buy a bank quality used safe at a very reasonable price now.) Look at safes that have been removed from the local bank that closed a few years ago. There are plenty of them, and they are cheap. For under $1,000 you can get quite a deal if you do not mind a scratch or two.

Remember that you are interested in security and not a nice exterior finish. And if you decide to invest in a safe to have at home, be careful how you set your combination. “Don’t be ridiculous,” you say. “Who would be so foolish as to not set a proper combination?” Read on.

I recently read a couple of books about Richard Feynman, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who helped to develop the atomic bomb at Los Alamos during World War II. It seems that Mr. Feynman was quite a hands-on kind of guy and liked to tinker with different things for his own amusement. He claimed that Los Alamos did not offer much else to do for amusement after work in those days.

When he began working there, everyone had locking file cabinets in their offices for their secret papers. The first cabinets had small three-tumbler locks that he learned to pick rather easily, but after a short while, new safe cabinets were ordered that had three-disk Mosler combination locks to secure their contents.

Feynman, who loved puzzles, took his lock apart one night in his office to see how it worked. He figured out that there were 1,000,000 different possible combinations with three disks at 100 numbers each (that is, 100 to the third power).

He tinkered for a while and found out that dialing the combination code two numbers either way would still work. This reduced the number of combinations to 8,000 possibilities (20 to the third power). Through experimentation he found out that if a file cabinet were unlocked, he could turn the dial carefully while applying pressure to the bolt throw handle and pick up the last two numbers of the combination. Then all that remained unknown was the first number of the combination; this, in turn, left only twenty different possibilities to open the cabinet! Plotting some fun, Feynman carefully recorded the last two numbers of his colleagues’ “secure” file cabinet while he was in their offices during his workday.

People just thought that Feynman’s casually spinning the dial on their open safes was a nervous habit of his. Pretty soon, word got out that Feynman could “crack open” the secure file cabinets. Whenever a document was needed urgently and someone was on leave, the person who needed the document would ask him to open the safe containing the urgently needed information. Feynman would gather a few tools, check his list of numbers and lock himself in the office with the locked safe.

Once out of sight of his colleagues, he would open the safe quite easily within a couple of minutes, read a book for another half hour to give the impression that he’d put forth an important amount of effort, then open the office door and declare that he had cracked the safe. Feynman did try to learn how to really open safes; he even read several books on the subject. Unfortunately, they all seemed to digress to useless hints about human nature such as many people’s habit of using as codes birthdays or other significant dates, numbers scribbled on the bottom or top of the secretary’s phone list or the top edge of her desk drawer and so forth. As a physicist, he might have been hoping for something with a bit more arithmetic flash. Later, however, Feynman needed to gain entry into a library of secret documents on a Saturday only to find out it was closed. He recalled that one of his friends was in charge of declassifying documents and had copies of all the papers he needed in each of the nine secure file cabinets in his office.

Feynman was able to get into his friend’s office but did not have a clue what the last two numbers for any of those nine safes were, so he fell back on the old human nature tricks that he earlier had dismissed. Sure enough, the secretary had a list of Greek characters carefully printed out under the glass on her desk. Next to pi was the number 3.14159. Why did the secretary need to have pi out to the fifth decimal place on her desk? You guessed it.

Not only was it the combination to the first cabinet but also to the remaining eight cabinets! Feynman could hardly contain his delight. His friend, meanwhile, almost lost it when, returning to his office on Monday, he found Feynman’s cryptic notes in his cabinets advising him to, “be more careful with his country’s most valuable secrets.” My favorite safe cracking adventure by the world famous physicist happened when Feynman’s colleagues were selling some surplus equipment at Los Alamos after the war.

Some time earlier, one captain had installed an expensive safe for his office, because he was anticipating much larger secrets than the others. The captain had moved on, but the safe he’d left behind had to be opened before it could be sold to make sure there was nothing of a sensitive nature left inside. Feynman had heard that the new locksmith had been called up to drill the safe. Naturally, he did not want to miss this spectacle, so he went to the captain’s old office only to find out that the new locksmith had already cracked open the safe. Feynman was obsessed with meeting this new lock picking genius from the maintenance department and set about trying to casually meet him. After weeks of nonchalantly walking by his shop, first waving to and then chatting with the maintenance man, Feynman dropped in at the shop for lunch one afternoon.

Feynman finally revealed his secret of picking off the last two combination numbers from an open safe. The locksmith had never heard of the method and was very impressed. Feynman, in turn, asked the locksmith how he had opened the captain’s safe, and the fellow confessed that when his supervisor had ordered him to drill the safe, he didn’t have a clue how to do it. However, he loaded a drill and some bits in a bag, then headed off to try his best.

He figured he would put on a good show, drill into the door, then come up with some excuse for why it would not open. When he reached the captain’s office and saw the safe, the locksmith, who had worked in a safe manufacturing facility years before, suddenly remembered that all the new safes were set with one of two combinations at the factory. They were supposed to be reset by the final owner upon installation of the safe. On that day, in his moment of desperation, he tried both of the factory settings, and the safe opened! He then simply reported that the job was done and went back to his shop, relieved that he wouldn’t be fired. Over the remaining weeks of that last summer Feynman tried as many safes as he could with the two factory settings and found that 20% of the safes that held the most secure secrets of the atomic bomb still had the original factory combinations!

Remember, your safe isn’t “safe” until you change the combination.

Contents • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Physical methods [ ] Different procedures may be used to crack a safe, depending on its construction. Different procedures are required to open different safes so safe-crackers need to be aware of the differences. Lock manipulation [ ] Lock manipulation is the stereotypical safe cracking technique commonly portrayed in movies.

It's a damage free combination recovery method, and a well known surreptitious bypass technique. Manipulation only requires fingers, eyes, and proper technique but it's a skill that takes years to develop and decades to master. Manipulation is a Group 2 mechanical lock bypass method. Expert practitioners of this art can open locks with speed and consistency. These professionals manually the in order to obtain the combination one number at a time. Manipulation procedures can vary, but they all exploit the same imperfections.

Manipulation will unlock a safe and recover its combination. Once the combination is recovered it may be reused to open the safe lock.

Similar damage free bypass can also be completed by a computerized. These machines are known to take 24 hours or more to reach the correct combination. In recent years faster devices have been engineered for lock bypass. These new devices use more advanced robotics and more advanced software. When used in cooperation with each other the two technologies closely mimic manual manipulation.

This generation of niche robotics mimics manual manipulation because they can 'feel,' and measure mechanical movement within the lock. The newest dialers can manipulate. Mechanical safe locks are manipulated primarily by feel, and vision. Sound also aids the process occasionally.

To find the combination the operator uses the lock against itself by measuring internal movements with the dial numbers. More sophisticated locks use advanced mechanics to eliminate any feedback a technician could use to identify a combination. These locks were developed in response to lock manipulation and can be identified by the lack of feeling in the dial or by a. Wheels made from lightweight materials will reduce valuable sensory feedback, but are mainly manufactured as. Manipulation is often the preferred choice in lost-combination lockouts, since it requires no repairs or damage, but can be time consuming for an operator, the specific difficulty depends on the unique wheel shapes and where the gates rest in relation to them. A novice's opening time will be governed by these random inconsistencies, while some leading champions of this art show admirable consistency. There are also a number of tools on the market to assist safe engineers in manipulating a combination lock open in the field.

Nearly all combination locks allow some 'slop' while entering a combination on the dial. On average expect 1% radial rotation in either direction from the center of the true combination number to allow the fence to fall despite slight deviation.

So that for a given safe it may be necessary only to try a subset of the combinations. Such 'slops' may allow for a margin of error of plus or minus two digits, which means that trying multiples of five would be sufficient in this case.

This drastically reduces the time required to exhaust the number of meaningful combinations. A further reduction in solving time is obtained by trying all possible settings for the last wheel for a given setting of the first wheels before nudging the next-to-last wheel to its next meaningful setting, instead of zeroing the lock each time with a number of turns in one direction. Guessing the combination [ ]. Further information: Safes may be compromised surprisingly often by simply guessing the combination. This results from the fact that manufactured safes often come with a manufacturer-set combination.

These combinations (known as try-out combinations) are designed to allow owners initial access to the safes so that they may set their own new combinations. Sources exist which list manufacturers' try-out combinations.

Combinations are also unwittingly compromised by the owners of the safes by having the locks set to easy-to-guess combinations such as a birthdate, street address, or driver's license number. Autodialers [ ] A number of companies and groups have developed autodialing machines to open safes.

Unlike fictional machines that can open any combination in a matter of seconds, such machines are usually specific to a particular type of lock and must cycle through thousands of combinations to open a device. A good example of such a device is a project completed by two students from the, Kyle Vogt and Grant Jordan. Their machine, built to open a Sargent and Greenleaf 8400 lock on a Diebold Safe, found an unknown combination in 21,000 tries. Lockmasters, Inc. Markets two autodialing machines that work on a variety of 3-digit combination safe locks. There also exist computer-aided manipulation tools such as Mas Hamilton's SoftDrill (no longer in production) and Cygnus. These tools are like autodialers except they listen to the lock and, with the aid of a computer, make logical decisions like a human manipulator would.

Weak-point drilling [ ]. Safe-drilling w/ drill rig While some safes are hard to open, some are susceptible to compromise by or other physical methods.

Manufacturers publish drill-point diagrams for specific models of safes. These are tightly guarded by both the manufacturers and locksmithing professionals.

Drilling is usually aimed at gaining access to the safe by observation or bypass of the locking mechanism. Drilling is the most common method used by locksmiths, and is commonly used in cases of burglary attempts, malfunctioning locks or damaged locks. In observational attacks, the drill hole allows the safecracker to view the internal state of the combination lock. Drill-points are often located close to the axis of the dial on the combination lock, but observation may sometimes require drilling through the top, sides or rear of the safe. While observing the lock, the locksmith manipulates the dial to align the lock gates so that the fence falls and the bolt is disengaged. Bypass attacks involve physical manipulation of the bolt mechanism directly, bypassing the combination lock.

All but the simplest safes are designed to protect against drilling attacks through the implementation of hardplate steel (extremely wear-resistant) or composite hardplate (a casting of metal such as cobalt-vanadium alloys with embedded chips designed to shatter the cutting tips of a drill bit) within the safe, protecting the locking mechanism and other critical areas such as the locking bolts. The use of hardplate ensures that conventional drilling is not successful when used against the safe. Drilling through hardplate requires the use of special-purpose diamond or tungsten-carbide drill-bits.

Even then, this can be a time-consuming and difficult process with safes equipped with modern composite hardplates. Some high- safes use what is called a glass. It is a piece of tempered glass mounted between the safe door and the combination lock. It has wires attached to the edges. These wires lead to randomly located, spring-loaded bolts. If an attempt is made to penetrate the safe, the penetrating drill or torch breaks the glass and releases the bolts.

These bolts block the retraction of the main locking bolts. To drill a safe with a glass relocker, side, top, or rear drilling may be necessary.

Many modern high-security safes also incorporate thermal relockers in conjunction with glass-based relockers (usually a fusible link as part of the relocker cabling), which also activate when the temperature of a safe exceeds a certain level as a defense against and. Drilling is an attractive method of safecracking for locksmiths, as it is usually quicker than manipulation, and drilled safes can generally be repaired and returned to service. Punching, peeling and using a torch are other methods of compromising a safe. Rtl Ski Jumping 2007 Patch Nazwiska. The Punch system is widely used by criminals for rapid entry.

Punching was developed by and used in New York City. Peeling is a method that involves removing the outer skin of the safe. And can be as hot as 4000 degrees Fahrenheit, much hotter than traditional, and can be used to burn through the on a safe. Scoping [ ] Scoping a safe is the process of drilling a hole and inserting a into the safe to get an intimate look into a specific part of the container.

When manipulation proof mechanical locks and glass re-lockers are implemented as security measures, scoping is the most practical option. One common method is called 'scoping the change key hole.' The safecracker will drill a hole allowing him to get his scope into a position to observe the change key hole. While spinning the dial and looking through the change key hole for certain landmarks on the combination lock's wheel pack, it is possible to obtain the combination and then dial open the safe with the correct combination. This method is common for a professional safe specialist because it leaves the lock in good working order and only simple repairs are needed to bring the safe barrier back to its original condition. It is also a common way to bypass difficult hard plates and glass re-lockers since the change key hole can be scoped by drilling the top, side, or back of the container. Brute force methods [ ] Other methods of cracking a safe generally involve damaging the safe so that it is no longer functional.

These methods may involve or other devices to inflict severe and damage the safe so it may be opened. Examples of penetration tools include, drills and. This method requires care as the contents of the safe may be damaged. Safe-crackers can use what are known as jam shots to blow off the safe's doors. Most modern safes are fitted with 'relockers' (like the one described above) which are triggered by excessive force and will then lock the safe semi-permanently (a safe whose relocker has tripped must then be forced, the combination or key alone will no longer suffice).

This is why a professional safe-technician will use manipulation rather than brute force to open a safe so they do not risk releasing the relocker. Radiological methods [ ] Penetrating radiation such as radiation can be used to reveal the internal angular relationship of the lock's internal mechanism to deduce the combination. Modern safe locks are made of lightweight materials such as nylon to frustrate this technique, since most safe exteriors are made of much denser metals. The Chubb Manifoil Mk4 combination lock actually has a lead shield surrounding part of the lock to defeat such attempts to read its wheels. Tunneling into bank vaults [ ] Large which are often located underground have been compromised by safe-crackers who have tunneled in using digging equipment. This method of safe-cracking has been countered by building patrol-passages around the underground vaults.

These patrol-passages allow early detection of any attempts to tunnel into a vault. Safe bouncing [ ]. See also: A number of inexpensive safes sold to households for under $100 use mechanical locking mechanisms that are vulnerable to bouncing. Many cheap safes use a magnetic locking pin to prevent lateral movement of an internal locking bolt, and use a to move the pin when the correct code is entered. This pin can also be moved by the impact of the safe being dropped or struck while on its side, which allows the safe to be opened. One security researcher taught his three-year-old son how to open most consumer gun safes.

More expensive safes use a gear mechanism that is less susceptible to mechanical attacks. Media depictions [ ] Movies often depict a safe-cracker determining the combination of a safe lock using his fingers or a sensitive listening device to determine the combination of a rotary combination lock.

Other films also depict an elaborate scheme of explosives and other devices to open safes. Some of the more famous works include. • Archived from on December, 9, 2016 • August 1, 2017 • from original June 28, 2017 • from original on June 28, 2017 • from original on August 9, 2016. • from the original on June 28, 2017. Feynman as told to Ralph Leighton; edited by Edward Hutchings (1985). 'Surely you're joking, Mr.

: adventures of a curious character. New York: W.W.

• 'Vogt, Kyle.. Retrieved 2010-04-06. • (PDF) (Press release). Lockmasters, Inc. Retrieved 2007-05-19. Retrieved 2010-04-18.

• Marc Weber Tobias.. 27 July 2012.

1 March 2012. July 12, 2006.

August 23, 2006. External links [ ] • • •.