Have you tried the combination? 000, 001 till 999? I opened a suitcase lock that way.
If it is rusty, you can use WD40 or sewing machine oil.
Source: my experience
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I don't know how you could open it but no, please don't destroy it! I don't suppose there is a maker's name or how about asking in a museum? How fascinating.Let us know if you find a way in. Lucky you!
Marg from England.
Have you thought of taking it to a locksmith's business & seeing if they can find a way of opening it, without ruining it? Beautiful item to treasure, of your Dad's.