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Question
Hi, my name is Alex Emanuel and I live in a small town in Nebraska and at my dads welding shop resides an old Syracuse Safe Co. safe.  It's been here as long as I can remember but nobody seems to have a clue about it's history.  Along with this question I am sending some pictures of the safe in the hopes that you will be able to give me information about the safe.  The locking mechanism has been all but useless for decades now and if you could give me some ideas as to what it costs to fix something like it would go a long way into helping my parents decide whether to fix it or get a new one.  Either way we're keeping it because we love the thing and its one of few things that survived a fire 4 years ago.

Thanks for the help,
Alex Emanuel

Answer
Alex,

The Syracuse Safe Company was in business from 1885 until the beginning of the Great Depression, around 1929.   Your safe appears to have been made in the 1920's.

Unfortunately there are no records available which would give you any history.   If you don't have a listing of previous owners, and/or can't track them down, then the history simply doesn't exist.

As far as why the locking mechanism isn't functioning, without seeing it, I can't address this.   generally mechanical issues require hands on diagnostics and solutions.   Send me photos of the lock and bolt work (inside the door, so that I can see what problems exist.   Also I need to see the wheel pack.

As far as fixing it or getting a new one - these are two separate issues.    If your family needs a safe for security reasons (fire or burglary) then you need to get one that meets those standards.   This safe does not meet any current standards for fire & burglary.

If you want this safe to be a display safe, then restoration would be a great thing to do.   As you have decided to keep it, then cost isn't really important.    Remember the commercial about the guy that brings home a bottle of wine and flowers for his wife.   The commercial says:   Bottle of wine $10, Flowers $12, remembering your wives anniversary, PRICELESS!
The same thing goes for the safe IF you do a nice job of restoration.

Hope this helps,

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

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

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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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