Antique snake oil – ‘unpickable lock’

unpickable lock picked and re-keyed

We were asked if we could open this antique ‘Stephen Cox & Son‘ safe and make new keys for it. When we received a picture of the safe we were thrown off a little by the text on the lock cover saying ‘unpickable lock‘. High quality locks were available in that time that could indeed frustrate picking quite a bit. But in this case it turned out to be just one hundred year old ‘snake oil‘.

We picked it open and made new keys. The lock turned out to be nothing special and a true safe technician one hundred years ago probably could have done the same.

After servicing the unpickable lock and making new keys, the safe is back in use. Hopefully for another one hundred years.

Safe opening

NL: De sleutels van dit kluisje van Engelse makelij waren verloren. Wij hebben de kluis zonder schade geopend en het slot vervangen. De kluis is schoongemaakt en weer in gebruik.

ENG: The keys to this safe were lost. We opened the safe without damage and replaced the lock. After a little cleanup the safe is now ready to be used again.

NSSG certified locksmith – Showcasing WSS

NSSG certified locksmith

Dutch locksmith association NSSG had video’s made showing what each of it’s certified locksmiths does. It was a fun project involving students from the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. It is always nice to see young talent being creative.

NSSG has a wide variety of members. Most own a shop while others combine with mobile locksmithing and then there is companies like ourselves that do forensic lock work and training / classes besides their locksmith jobs. The video is in Dutch but still gives an idea on what we do and how we do it.

What I like about the NSSG video’s is that clearly every certified locksmith on it is proud of their shop or business. The advantage for the customer is that they can see who they are dealing with before calling. It is transparent and not all locksmiths are like that.

Transparent locksmith vs rogue locksmith

Nowadays there are a some rogue locksmiths that charge absurd prices for their ‘services’. After paying several hundred euros (sometimes way more than that) the companies seem not to be registered anywhere. With NSSG members you know the address of the company and who is the owner. Often the owners are the second or third generation locksmith and their fathers or grandfathers started the business. If there ever arises a problem, the NSSG has a special complaint service. So far there has been little to no complaints about NSSG locksmiths and their service / pricing.

For customers it is almost impossible to see the difference between a rogue locksmith and a good one on google. Who you call can have a huge impact on your personal safety. Cases are known where rogue locksmiths kept one of the keys to the new lock they installed. Besides charging an extreme price for the job, they came back a day later using the spare key! While installing the lock they noticed where the customer kept her cash. They came back the next night and took it. So know who you are dealing with, before calling a locksmith.

Safe opening with Thermal Lance

In the Netherlands we had a famous safe cracker that used the Thermal lance to open safes in the 1970’s. A lot about him can be found in Dutch, like this item ‘My nights with a thermal lance‘.

People often wonder if modern safes still can be cracked with a thermal lance. And how it is done.

We shot some video at a demonstration. Using the melting tip (that can heat up to 3500 degrees) the welder manages to open the safe with the content still intact. This may look simple but it is only due to craftsmanship he manages to succeed. He also has the advantage of working outside in an open space. If he would try the same in a closed office building it will for sure get very messy with the fumes and smoke. Still pretty impressive.

Aangesloten bij het NSSG

Wels Security Solutions is in 2017 toegetreden tot het Nederlands Slotenspecialisten gilde NSSG.