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Antique Safes/History of Hall's Safe


I recently inherited my mom's safe that was her fathers.  They lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I'm trying to figure out any history beyond my grandfather on it.  I'd like to the the manufacturer date, weight of it, where it came from, etc.  It has the "Manufactured by The Hall's Safe Co. Cincinnati Ohio on the front along with a golden eagle on the bottom of the door.  Serial no is 22153.


While I can give you the basic history of this company, if you are looking for the "individual" history for your safe - there is no listing of this type of info.   Unless YOU can track its ownership back through previous owners, then its history simply starts with its manufacturer - skips to your grandfather, and then to you.    In many cases the name of the original owner might have been painted above the safe door.   In some cases the safe may have been repainted over this lettering.   Looking at the paint at just the right angle in just the right light may reveal a "shadow" of the lettering.   This may give you some indication and direction to search for previous owners.

As far as the BASIC History for this company - the owners Edward C. Hall began working at his father's factory in 1868, his brothers William H. Hall (Harry) and Charles O. Hall began working for their father in 1874 and 1876 respectively.   All three of the boys literally learned the safe making trade working at "Hall's Safe & Lock Company for their father (1867-1892).
Shortly after their father's death (Joseph L. Hall) in 1889, the boys merged this company with two others to form the Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Company in 1892.   In 1896, after fulfilling all contractual obligations and having a falling out with the board of directors over a planned move from the original three factories to a new facility in Hamilton, Ohio, the brothers left HHM to form a new company called Hall's Safe Company, Cincinnati, OH.
Over the next 10 years, HHM filed several lawsuits against the brothers and Hall's Safe Company, over the use of the name "HALL's".   The lawsuits eventually made it to the Supreme Court where it was finally decided that while the brothers HAD sold any and all rights to the original company (Hall's Safe & Lock Company) they had never given up the right to the use of their name.   But they could not either reference the original company or even reference that they had learned their trade working AT that company or even for their father.
Hall's Safe Company lasted until sometime between 1929-1940.   We are still researching the end date of the company.   It appears that they went out of business at the beginning of the Great Depression (1929), but I can't answer that for sure.

I would be more than happy to look at your safe to answer any specific questions about it that I can.   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 12mb 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 online, internet 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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