Some locks have a feature called a “barrel and curtain”, in many door locks it is known as a “thrower” because it throws the bolt. When fitted to safe locks it does not normally move the bolt. Notable exceptions being Milners and Ratner locks.
The curtain is the disc of metal which turns to close off the keyhole, this is supported by the barrel which is like a tube the key fits into.
The main example that is of concern if you have lost all your safe keys, is the Churchill under floor safe. Models like the Domestic or Vector originally used a lock without curtain, then Churchill started to fit locks which had additional security features including the barrel and curtain. Many other safe locks have a curtain and we have special picks to deal with them, but the Churchill CHAPS locks have an anti pressure system as well. This adds extra time and difficulty to opening the lock and so incurs a greater charge. The CHAPS lock also becomes unreliable with wear or just dust getting in, so we generally change them out for brand new locks.
The second example is for Chubb freestanding safes, several models look identical from outside but have different mechanisms inside. From a picture we cannot tell if it has the 6K202 / 6K113 non curtained range of locks, or a version of the 6K75 lock with a curtain or one of the Lips locks which have a pin in the centre of the keyhole and use a pipe key. See other items on our safe identification pages to learn about solid pin keys versus pipe keys which sit on a drill pin in the lock.
Safe lock curtains may be brass or die cast, dull or shiny or even hidden. They can be used in locks with pin keys or pipe keys but they always signify a higher security lock.
Later Churchill and Chubb safes use completely different locks, which is why we ask for a picture of the keyhole shape.
If you are wondering if your safe has a lock with a curtain then look through the following pictures as a guide to help.