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Antique Safes/Carter's Safes


Dear Mike

I am trying to find out about a safe I have purchased called a Carter's Improved Resisting Safe. I know their safes were advertised in New Zealand in the Marlborough Express 25 June 1887, 'Carter's Safe Newly arrived' and in The Manchester Courier, and Lancaster General Advertiser January 30, 1858 'Carter's fire and thief-proof safes, efficient agents wanted address Box 80, Kaye's newsrooms, Manchester' and on July 10, 1858 where the advertisement says, 'Carter's (late with Milner and Son) fire and thief-proof safes. Lists on application - Depot. 32, lower King-street.'

Do you know where I might get more information on this safe company?



Hello Richard,

Thanks for your question.  I have collected brass Victorian safe plates for many years and although I have now sold them off, I remember having a Carter's (late of Milner & Son) plate at one time, but that is the extent of my knowledge of this maker.

In the late 1800's and early 1900's there was an explosion of safe making in the UK with scores of small manufacturers springing up; mostly in the British Industrial Midlands or 'Black Country'.  Although Tann was the earliest and Chubb the most best known name, Milner's were the most prolific so it is understandable that Mr Carter wished this asscociation to be known.

There is no mention of Carter's in the Gazeteer of Locks and Safes nor is there any mention in Grace's Guide to British Industrial History, so I very much doubt that you will find any further reference to this company in UK records.

If you would care to send me a couple of pictures of the safe, I should be able to give you some informationo on its construction.  If it is more convenient, you can send pictures to


Mike Palmer FSyI
Mike Palmer Consultancy

Antique Safes

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Mike Palmer


I earn my living identifying safes and suggesting cash limits for risk advisors and insurance surveyors in the UK. I'm am pleased to comment on safes manufactured in the UK or Mainland Europe but I am unable to accept questions regarding safes made in the USA or elsewhere.


I have been in the UK safe industry for 40 years and have one of the largest archive databases of old safe literature and serial numbers in the country. I started with Chubb in 1960 and became Assistant Manager of their Bank Security Division before moving on to become the Insurance Liaison Manager with the John Tann Group. I became Sales & Marketing Director for Guardian Safes Limited before semi-retiring. I am a Fellow of the Security Institute and ex-Chairman of Eurosafe UK, a trade body representing the interests of UK safe makers and distributors. I now work as a part time consultant.

I am an advisor to the Safe Committee of the Association of Insurance Surveyors, a Fellow of the Security Institute and founding Chairman of Eurosafe UK.

I have had literally scores of articles published in various security trade publications. So far this year I have had 24 features published in various journals including Keyways, Professional Security, Pawnbroker and Safe India. I have published one book, Peckham Boy, the life and times of the world's greatest safe cracker.

No relevant educational credentials.

Awards and Honors
In 1997 I was awarded the annual shield by the Association of Insurance Surveyors for "..outstanding services to crime prevention"

Past/Present Clients
I have represented or been an agent for the John Tann Group (Stratford, Ratner, Dreadnought and Tann safes); Churchill Safes, Chubb Safe Co Ltd, SLS Safes, SMP Safes, Dudley Safes and several others

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