You are here:

Antique Safes/ages of two antique safes

Advertisement


Question
I am trying to date two antiques safes

First is a Mosler.  # on handle that appears to be the s/n is 117582.  The front door is lettered Mosler Safe Co., Hamilton, O.  Also lettered 192 Devonshire Str., Boston.

If I understand correctly, Mosler relocated to Hamilton sometime in the late 1880s.  However, this safe may pre-date that move.  The facility where it is located burned in 1882. A safe and documents inside survived the fire.  It is unknown if this is the safe (and was re-conditioned by Mosler after the relocation).  I am hoping that the number above can be used to determine a date of manufacture (or approx. date).

The second safe is a Detroit Safe Company product.  I have not yet located a number (any suggestion on where to look?).  The outside of the door is lettered "Squares & Pratt, Agents, Boston".  On the inside is lettering "July 29, 1873 (scraped area) Paige's Patent".

Answer
Ross,

Sorry but your information is incorrect.  Mosler was originally in Cincinnati, OH and moved to Hamilton, OH in 1891.

Based on your serial number, your safe would have been built in the mid 1890's (1893-1897), AFTER the move to Hamilton, OH.  This safe would be considered an antique.

Basic History:
Original Company - Mosler, Bahmann & Company.  The company was founded in 1867 by Gustave Mosler and Fred Bahmann, with a factory on Pearl Street in Cincinnati.  Mosler had been a newspaper editor in Austria, immigrating to Cincinnati in the 1840's.  This company was formed after Bahmann broke up his partnership with Charles Diebold (Diebold-Bahmann Safe Company).  Mosler, Bahmann & Company continued until shortly after Gustave's death in 1874, when his heirs (Moses, William & Julius Mosler) broke away to start a new company, the Mosler Safe & Lock Company.
Fred Bahmann continued the Mosler, Bahmann & Company (without any Moslers) until 1898.  Both companies continued in Cincinnati until Mosler Safe & Lock Company moved to Hamilton, OH in 1891 to begin a new factory.

Any other addresses were either sales outlets or sales agents for Mosler, and were NOT company addresses.

For your 2nd safe I'll start with Paige's info.

David Osgood Paige (D.O. Paige).  The disastrous panic of 1857 so stagnated the manufacturing business, that Mr. Paige decided to accept a position offered him by the American Patent Company, of Cincinnati, and was placed at the heaad of the department for giving practical tests to newly invented machinery and making mathematical calculations for mechanics.  While in this business he became interested in the development and manufacture of bank locks and safes, and obtained a position with "Hall, Caroll & Company", where he remained until 1865.  During the "War of the Rebellion" (Civil War), this firm not only manufactured safes and locks, but did a large amount of work for the Government, altering muskets into rifles, building Army wagons, etc.
In July of 1865 Mr. Paige decide to come to Detroit, and in company with John J. Bagley and Z.R. Brockway established a factory for the manufacture of safes, vaults and jail work.  They organized as the "Detroit Safe Company", with Mr. Paige as the General Manager and Treasurer of the company.
John J. Bagley became the Governor of the state of Michigan (1873-1877), and acting director of the Detroit Safe Company from 1873-1875.
The Detroit Safe Company manufactured safes and locks from 1865 until 1919.  
Charles E. Walker left the emply of the Diebold Safe & Lock Company when he moved to detroit in February 1916, where he purchased an interest in the Detroit Safe Company, becoming Vice President and manager.  He was active in the successful cnoduct of the business until it was sold to Diebold Safe & Lock Company May 24th 1919.  

As far as the serial number of your Detroit Safe, some manufacturers didn't use serial numbers.  Also, not ALL of the safes that were sold by the Detroit Safe Company were manufactured by them.  Chances are, as yours has a D.O. Paige patent date, it is a Detroit Safe.
The next patent date by D.O. Paige was October 1886, so your safe would have been built between the 1873 date and the 1886 date.

What other info do you need?

Antique Safes

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.

Experience

44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes". Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf

Organizations
Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 Listed in AllExperts top 50 Experts. All Experts Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service area is Northern California - Fresno to Oregon, including western Nevada

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.