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Antique Safes/Am steam safe


Am steam safe.
Am steam safe.  
Hello , My name is Brian , I'm kind of a collector of anything old and recently my girlfriend and I were walking through a house we wanted to buy. In the basement was an " Am steam safe" when I saw it I had to have it ! long story short they sold it to me . 5 guys a pickup truck , tow truck and 1 hour later we had it out of the basement ! The woman to me it was he fathers and it was in the basement when the parents bought the house . I have the combo and it opens and works good ! I also had it weighed 2400 lbs yes 2400 !!! I'm guessing it's about 28" wide 28" deep and 38" tall !! My question is any info you could tell me on what kind of save it is like "small bank " or just a personal one and possibly it's age and worth! The last people to own it did paint it which I'm sure kills the value!! Thanks so much !!

Brian, you are correct about the paint.  Sometimes it can be removed to reveal the original paint, which probably was no longer in great shape.  The safe was designed for more for fire protection than burglary, although it does give some.  I believe it was Sanborn that patented the idea for that safe, which actually contains a water filled tin lining.  Temp goes up, water turns to steam, keeping the interior from burning.  So to a hard core safe collector, the safe would have some interest.  Guessing the age to be post Civil War, late 1860's or 70's.  Value is a tough one, but it is a collectable due to the patent design. However most collectors are more concerned with looks than construction.  If it was mine, I wouldn't sell it for less than $1000.  Doug

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Doug MacQueen


This unusual and highly innovative safe from the later 1800's is a Corliss. William, the much younger brother of George Corliss of steam engine fame, spent several years perfecting this design and it was first displayed at the 1876 Philadelphia U.S. Centennial Exhibition. I do extensive patent research helping me in the study of antique U.S. safes and safe locks. Repairs and part making for antique U.S. safes of the early to mid 1800's, both key and combination. Also the study of early round door chest designs up to and including cannonball safes of the early 1900's.


40 years in the lock and safe trade with a stint in bank service work. Openings, repairs and moving of safes of all types.

Charter member Safe and Vault Technicians Association SAVTA, National Safemans Association NSO, National Antique Safe Association NASA. No longer current.

SAVTA monthly magazine

CMS (Certified Master Safecracker- NSO) and CPS (Certified Professional Safe Technician - SAVTA)

Awards and Honors
2nd place national combination manipulation contest 1986 and now in 2016 1st place

Past/Present Clients

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