|1930 Swiss Bank Safe Deposit Box|
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Each safe deposit box came with one client key and sometimes a spare key.
The lock and door have clean and elegant lines. It is a beautiful example of a classic Swiss bank deposit box lock.
We polish the lock components one by one and either thermolacquer them or galvanize them to keep their shiny appearance while preserving the item's integrity. The doors and locks we have all come from the former vault at Union Bank Switzerland in Lausanne, Switzerland. According to our rather detailed research locks of this type have been installed between 1923 and 1934. The patent by Swiss locksmith Karl Bauer AG in Zurich is date 1919.
The lock is much more complex than it looks. Although from first glance it appears like a double bank lock, with a keyhole for the client and one for the banker, there is actually a third lock hidden within. Indeed, an internal bolt can be operated by a so called 'Director Key' or 'Broken Key' so that the lock can be removed from the door. Even with the lock open, you cannot remove the lock from the door unless you have this key. This acted as a security device to prevent somebody from removing the lock from his own deposit box and try to reverse engineer it to make his own bank key. That would have enabled a thief to open another safe deposit box for which he had stolen the client key.
The building and vault have been decomissioned by the bank who moved to larger premises just opposite in 2004. The bank building is a local landmark, with its Greek temple front regularly featured on city postcards. Our shadow boxes display the fully restored door and lock along with high quality framed reproductions of historical documents about the bank building. The lock displayed under a custom laser-cut transparent acryl cover.
There are several subtypes of the lock. The earliest have each part hand-numbered, which leaves a strong impression of uniqueness on the viewer.
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