No One Knows How to Remove This 700-Pound Safe from a House. What Would You Try?

From Popular Mechanics

  • A Boston-area man can’t figure out how to open or remove a 700-pound safe that he found hidden away in his new home.

  • If you can figure out how to remove and open it, whatever is inside is your prize.

  • We figure that a pulley system is in order, so don’t bother with the dolly.

Attention all magicians, escape room junkies, movers, engineers, and locksmiths: It’s your time to shine.

A Boston-area man has been struggling to open—or at least remove—a massive 700-pound safe from his new home, to no avail. (It’s a beast. Check out the photos in this Boston Globe piece.) There has to be some way to remove this damn thing, and that’s where you might come in.

You love riddles. So do we. Let’s solve them together.

Homeowner Manoj Mishra found the hulking safe tucked away inside a closet in the house’s second-floor master bedroom after he purchased it. “We don’t know the password,” Mishra wrote in a neighborhood Facebook group on Sept. 12, according to the Boston Globe. “But the lady who lived here used [to] own [a] gold store so your luck … it’s all yours. Pickup, sooner the better.”

How do you open a safe when you don’t know the combination? And how the hell do you remove it from a house with humble door frames and a challenging set of stairs when it looks like it’s better suited for a bank than a home?

If you can figure it out, let us know what your method would look like, and we’ll update this story to help out Mishra. Or you can try to contact him yourself.

Mishra’s Facebook posts have prompted many people to come over and try to remove the 2.5-foot tall safe. So far, no one has been successful—not the woman who brought nine friends and a dolly, nor the movers and cleaners who wanted to bring ropes, ramps, and pieces of plywood to the site.

Brad Ford, a savvy test editor for Popular Mechanics who can fix literally anything, thinks Mishra needs a pully system, like the kind cartoon characters use to hoist a grand piano out of a window.

Photo credit: Themightyquill
Photo credit: Themightyquill

“Typically you would use block and tackle anchored to a beam put across a doorway at the top, which would allow the safe to slide on its side and be lowered down the steps,” Ford says. “At landings, you would need to stand it up, turn, and lay it down again. But you really need to see the steps to know what’s possible.”

Photo credit:
Photo credit:

A block and tackle system includes a block, or a set of pulleys or sheaves, affixed to a frame. The tackle is the assemblage of those blocks, threaded with a rope. Basically, this kind of machine amplifies the tension force inherent in the rope to help lift loads, and it’s common on ships for operations like lifting the lines for sails.

The mechanical advantage, or the force amplification that you can achieve with the tool, is based on the number of parts on the rope that are acting on the load. In theory, the perfect block and tackle can be represented with the following equation, where FA is the hauling (input) force and FB is the load:

Photo credit: Wikipedia
Photo credit: Wikipedia

But you can’t exactly unlock an old-school safe with a pulley system.

According to ACME Locksmith, a company based in Arizona, you have options:

“If there is an override key you can get that key made by a locksmith. If the safe is locked, you can have a locksmith retrieve the safe’s original code from the manufacture. Or, you can have the safe professionally drilled by a locksmith so the safe can continue to be used.”

Photo credit: Barry Winiker - Getty Images
Photo credit: Barry Winiker – Getty Images

Hunting down the manufacturer is easier said than done. The company who made this safe, Mosler, operated from 1874 until 2001, when it went bankrupt. The company is known for its bank vaults (see above), so you can expect maximum security.

Even if the locksmith can wizard up a combination or a key, it’ll still cost you—something that Mishra is presumably trying to avoid. But isn’t assembling a team of engineers and locksmiths worth it to claim the grand prize inside the safe? Or at least the bragging rights?

💬 Tell us in the comments: How would YOU remove the safe? ⬇

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