Lost Combination 

This briefcase belonged to my grandfather, Robert A. Lad. It was likely purchased in the 1960s and is part of the WALLSTREETER collection from Amelia Earhart’s luggage line. He carried it while working as a material scientist at the NASA Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, OH until his retirement in 1978.

After my grandfather’s death in 2010, many of his possessions were divided among family members and my aunt became the custodian of the briefcase. She recently bequeathed it to me while were looking through a closet in her home she named “the archive.”

When shaken, the briefcase is audibly not empty, but its contents remain a mystery. The briefcase is locked at its clasp and requires a three number combination between 000 and 999 to be opened. My grandfather left no record of the code, which is now long forgotten.

This book lists all one thousand possibilities that could be the correct combination for the briefcase. I invite you to search for this number with me in the hope of discovering what is stored inside. Make as many attempts as you wish and please cross off each combination tried within the book.

I am interested in how many things about this briefcase are unknown. This object was a companion throughout an important part of my grandfather’s life, and yet I can never know it’s true significance or where it traveled. If opened, I may still lack the necessary context to understand whatever is within the case. Therefore, the search for the combination never truly ends.

August 2022

The briefcase was opened on Saturday during the opening of "Trite and True" at Dream Clinic Project Space in Columbus, OH.  The correct combination was 5-1-9  (the birth month and year of my grandfather.)

Lost Combination (My Grandfather’s Briefcase)

Briefcase and Hand-bound Book

Briefcase 19 x 14 x 4 inches

Book  ~ 5 x 7 inches 

Table 29 inches tall, 26 x 20 inches surface 


Using Format