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Antique Safes/Kannreuther & Co Limited Birmingham safe



I was wondering if you can shed some light on the origins of a 23 X 15 inches (approx) Kannreuther & Co Limited Birmingham fire resistant safe that has been in my family for at least 60 years and possibly over 100. My great grand father was a cotton merchant in Egypt around 1890 and presumably sold cotton to England. I haven't been able to find much information about the manufacturer or rarity of the safe so any help would be greatly appreciated. Would this safe be an interesting item for a collector?


First off, let me say that English safes are NOT my specialty.   Two other gentlemen on this same site (Allexperts, Antique Safes) are both in England and much more familiar with British safes and safe manufacturers.   I specialize in antique American (US) safes and safe manufacturers.

Unfortunately, there were a couple hundred small safe manufacturers in several British towns, making pretty much, similar type safes, during the late 1800's and early 1900's.   The only real differences between many of these safes was the manufacturers name plaque, the handles, and the key locks or key hole covers, other than that, they look identical.

These safes were made in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, West Bromwich, Liverpool and London (to name a few).   Very little is known about many of these smaller companies, and in fact many of them were in business for only a few years.

I did find a listing of a "Joseph Kannreuther", who was listed as a "Hardware Export Merchant" during the mid to late 1800's.   The listings that I did find for "Kannreuther & Company, Limited" also seemed to support this.    I can find no indications of this company ever having manufactured a safe, which would indicate that they may have simply owned the safe at some point, or exported/sold the safe, and had their name on it for advertising reasons.

My recommendation is that you contact either Tom Gordon or Mike Palmer (the English safe experts on this site).   Make arrangements to send photos of your safe, so that they can make a determination about what you actually have, who might have made it, possibly when it was made, as well as any other specific questions you might have.

As far as whether it would be an "interesting" item for a collector - in "GENERAL", as most of the British made safes were fairly similar, the name plaques usually have a higher collectible value than the actual safe (throughout the UK), you would need to check with local antique dealers to see what a similar item might go for in YOUR area.    But your FIRST item of business, would be to actually identify what you have, etc. etc. etc.

Hope this helps,

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 40 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of two Tilton & McFarland Safes from the 1860'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.


40 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. 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. 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

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 - 2013 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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