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Antique Safes/year of Hall safe and combo info


number on handle
number on handle  

hall safe
hall safe  
Hi again I also have a Hall safe it was my dads and it was always in the family as my Grandma owned the last saloon in Milwaukee so it could have been there but all my dad said was it was given to him by his cousin , but any ways  I will post a picture of the numbers on the handle 89686  , also  I have the combo but in a different posting you gave me the correct turning sequence for the Cary safe and  the opening for this safe I go  3 left , 3 right , 2 left , and 1 right  and open on the last number , It works just wondering it correct . Thanks Mike


First thing that we need to do is to verify WHAT you actually have.

There were TWO "HALL's" safe companies.   "Hall's Safe & Lock Company" was in business from 1867 until 1892.   The second company was "Hall's Safe Company", and was in business from 1896 until around the end of the 1920's (I'm still researching an end date).

The original company was founded and operated by Joseph L. Hall.   Shortly after his death in 1889, his son's merged the company with two others, in 1892, to form the Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Company.   After fulfilling their contractual obligations as board of director members of the new company, and after having a falling out over moving (combining) the three original factories into a new facility in Hamilton, OH, the Hall brothers left HHM to begin their company.   Even though this was the same family, this was a NEW and totally separate company from the original.

So our first project is going to be actually IDing what you have, and who made it.   From the photos it appears to be from possibly (probably) the second company.

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.

As far as your combination dialing sequence, you are making a dialing error, or at least have it written down incorrectly.   You may actually be dialing it correctly, though.

ASSUMING that you have a three wheel lock, the rotations to place the first wheel HAVE TO BE "4" turns, with the second wheel being "3" turns, the third being "2" turns, and the drive wheel being the final turn, or 4-3-2-1!

While I don't recommend your changing your dialing sequence if it is working for you, I do recommend that you have the lock serviced and the correct combination and dialing sequence revealed so that you don't have any mistakes in your written version.
For example if you have a problem with the lock and the safe will not open - if you called me out and gave me the numbers, I'm going to attempt to dial it correctly.    If a dialing error is present, and/or was introduced when the combination was possibly set incorrectly, then all of my attempts would be fruitless, resulting in a possible drilled safe.
On the other hand, "IF" the combination is written down CORRECTLY, even if you are making a dialing error, when the service tech arrives, they should be applying the combination and dialing sequence correctly.

At a minimum, I would recommend having it serviced to ensure that you don't have a problem with the lock.

Ok, I'll look forward to all of the photos of this safe, so I can see what you have.

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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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