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Antique Safes/The Wherle Co. MFG.'s Newark O. safe


Wherle fire safe
Wherle fire safe  
Hello.  In a web search for "Wherle Co. safe's," I came across two prior postings on this site that you made about other people's Wherle safes.  My cousin and I are amateur history buffs and we recently acquired a hand-me-down, small Wherle fire safe that was believed to have belonged to our great grandpa, and was allegedly used in his manufacturing factory in Brooklyn, WI.  We have no desire to sell it, so potential value isn't of too much interest to us.  We are mainly just interested in finding out any information you might know about this particular type of safe.

I have clear pictures of all 8 sides of it, and photos of the interior as well, and the handle/knob and locking mechanism.  Since I'm only allowed to initially submit one photo, I am choosing to send the photo of the painted name that appears on the removable cover plate that attaches to the inside of the door with 4 screws.  I will gladly submit all my other photos if you provide instructions on how to do that.  

It measures 9 inches side to side, 13.5 inches top to bottom, and 10 inches front to back, all outside dimensions.  It has a stained and lacquered wooden inside panel finish.  The locking mechanism does not work, but it appears to be a keyed lock, where the key is inserted into the center of a turn knob that unlocks the mechanism.  When we removed the back plate on the door, we saw that the inside of the door was filled with what appears to be poured concrete or plaster (and I assume from the weight of it [approx. 50 lbs.] that all the other sides are similar, with steel walls filled with concrete for fire protection).

You can clearly see where someone prior to us has chipped away the concrete around the locking mechanism, I presume in an attempt to try to fix the lock.  I have detailed pictures of all of this.  Other than the painted name info on the interior plate, the only other identifying marks we were able to see on it were a recessed, stamped marking along the bottom edge that says "S.P. 61."  It also has two handles for carrying, one on each end lengthwise.

Care to take a stab at enlightening us on what we've got...?  Thanks in advance!



I'm always game for a challenge, and would be happy to look at your safe.   Unfortunately, as you have noticed this site (which I am only a volunteer on) only allows 1 or 2 photos, and is not set up for evaluations, which is why I have questioners send their photo's directly to my email.   Regardless of whether you need an apprasial or not, I will still need ALL of the requested photos in order to answer questions or evaluate the container.

In order to answer specific questions, identify, evaluate or appraise your safe, I'm going to need photos.  They should include full exterior and interior.  Detail photos should include pictures of the dial, handles, hinges, artwork, locks, bolt work, castors, cabinetry and any special details or damage.  Note:  You may have to remove the back panel on the door to gain access to the lock & bolt work – I will need these pics.
If you have a particular detail that you have a question about, I will need a photo of it along with your question.

I will also need to see any documentation that you have in regards to your safe.  If your safe has a unique historical perspective, you should be able to document this with letters, newspaper articles or photos, if not it is simply a story and will have no bearing on the value of your safe.

Please use as high a resolution as possible so that I can examine details of your safe.  Pictures which are low resolution, out of focus, or from a distance don’t help when we try to evaluate the container.  Note:  with higher resolution, you may only be able to send 2-4 pictures per email, depending on the size of the file, I have a 10mb limit per email.  If photos are larger than 2mb each, you may only be able to send 2 or 3 photos per email, requiring several emails.

Please don’t send me “cell phone” photos.   Also, please don’t use on line photo drops as most of these also don’t allow me to easily access the photos for examination.   Send the pics directly to me, while this may be more work for you, it will make my job easier.

Please send all of the requested photos to:

Note:  As I am in the field several days each week, covering a huge service area, I may not get back to your photos immediately, but I will respond as soon as I get an opportunity.  Due to field work, emails may tend to get backed up which means I may not answer them immediately.

Our informal evaluation is at no charge, however if you feel you need a formal evaluation or appraisal for insurance, estate sales, donations for tax write offs, or to establish it as an antique, there is an administrative fee for this service.

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


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.


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

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

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

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

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