The Ultimate Treasure Box

Just watch this video… it’s mesmerizing. I figured out what he was making around the 3:20 mark. You can read below to learn about the tradition that this guy was following. 

Thank you to Daniel Devoe Dilley and Yuehwern Yih for sending us this video. 

Armada Chests

This guy painstakingly forged a modern (and crazy complicated) interpretation of a 16th/ 17th century “Armada Chest.”


“An iron-bound strongbox for storing valuables in the 16th and 17th centuries, often with a large, complicated lock on the underside of the lid. Some were for the use of officers at sea, and would have been bolted to the deck of the owner’s cabin. Usually of German make, the chests could be anything from a few inches to 6ft (1.8m) long. The name itself was a fanciful Victorian invention recalling chests imagined to be used by the Spanish Armada.”

The locking mechanism in the lid of a Spanish Armada treasure chest. It is incredibly complex.
That’s the exposed locking mechanism of a treasure chest lid. It was seriously humbling to see it function in real life and know that its mechanisms were made by hand.

I first encountered two of these beautiful chests when we visited the Lock Museum of America and played the escape game that they had scattered about the exhibit. 

You can see an original function: 

(There’s no need to watch him do it for 53 seconds)

I also encountered one last year while we were visiting a museum in Egar, Hungary…

A magnificent and ornately pained Armada Chest.

Interestingly enough, they didn’t know what the chest truly was. They had it mislabeled under-labeled.

Label reads "17th century painted metal box"

The person giving the tour was surprised when I opened the trap door for the true keyhole. 



  1. The Vimeo video is not showing up. In the HTML code I see “

    1. So it is… I’m going to see about fixing that. Thanks for letting me know.

      1. And now it’s fixed. I just learned a thing about Vimeo.

  2. That was very cool. To design it is sublime, to build it from scratch is beyond the pale. To watch it happen in a time lapse fashion is a treat!

    I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when you revealed the key opening on the box in Hungary 🙂

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