York Safe & Lock faltered after founder’s death

This is the view of the wide stretch of the Susquehanna River from Highpoint, part of York Safe & Lock owner Forry Laucks’ Lauxmont estate. Easy access to the river from both the York and Lancaster county sides made the river between Wrightsville and Columbia a crossroads – and a part of many key phases of this region’s past. That’s the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge in the foreground and the Wright’s Ferry Bridge up river. Background posts: New Freedom station houses alien safe, The bomb: ‘And yet it stopped the war’ and Noted photo archive captures York County treasures.
My York Sunday News column “The Susquehanna River runs near it” tells about the life and death of York Safe & Lock’s S. Forry Laucks.
What happened to York Safe & Lock after his death in 1942?…


Not long after Laucks death, York Safe company, holding scores of millions of dollars in Navy contracts, ran into trouble.
The Navy stepped in to operate parts of the company because so many defense contracts were at stake. Parts of the company became known as the Navy Ordnance Plant and later Blaw-Knox, a company the Navy brought in to manage the factories.
So, the government played a big role in the company both before and during World War II. Defense contracts rescued the company from the Depression. Banks naturally weren’t buying safes during the 1930s. And the Navy had to step in to make the company work after Laucks death.
York Safe & Lock closed some years after the end of the war.
Selected York Safe & Lock links:
New Freedom station houses alien safe
York Safe & Lock worker recalls chat with Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr’s visit to York long remembered
From Bofors to Bikes, Harley plant top hog
Forry Laucks, Lauxmont sparked debates
York-made safes spotted in post-war Tokyo
York Safe restoration ‘once in a lifetime’ project.
York Safe faltered after owner’s death.
All York Safe & Lock posts from the start.
(For multiple posts on York County’s industrial prowess, see this blog’s Made in York category.)

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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