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Antique Safes/Please Help To Identify Manufacturer & Year

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Safe Interior
Safe Interior  

Safe Front Face
Safe Front Face  
To Whom It May Concern:  My family has a safe that has no clear marking on it.  Only the front has what appears to be artwork that has been painted over.  It appears that there may be a type of logo made out of linked letters on the front.  Inside is the name of a relative that passed away in 1940, so I'm positive that it's at least that old.  It is in working condition and is extremely heavy as it is steel.  The size is 24" wide x 22" deep x 34" high.  It has 4 wheels that allow movement in two directions only.  There is a seperate keyed lock box and drawer inside.  The inside diminsions are 12" wide x 9" deep x 16" high. I would like to sell it but have no idea what this is and if it has any value.  Perhaps it has more value at scrap metal? Any info appreciated.

Answer
David,

well this one is an easy one - the Manufacturer is the "Diebold Safe & Lock Company".   They manufactured this style of safe, with the rounded door corners from 1885 until the early 1920's.

Sorry, but your "conclusion" that it is heavy because it is made of "STEEL" is incorrect.   This type of container was designed for "FIRE" resistance.   As such, it uses a thin outer steel skin, and a thin inner steel skin.   In between is an insulation material designed to keep heat out.   Every manufacturer had their own proprietary concoction of materials for this purpose.   Their receipes were usually kept secret or protected by patents.   Generally materials that were used included mortar, gypsum, plaster of Paris, Asbestos, Alum, etc. etc.   Yours probably has a mortar mix consisting of some of these items.

As such, there is very little actual scrap steel in your container, and most scrap metal places won't take it unless you remove all of the insulation material.   Value of your labor vs the value received for scrap - you are probably going to loose.

While this type of container is referred to as a "Cast Iron" type safe, the ONLY cast iron in the safe is the door Frame (jamb area), and the actual frame of the door.   The plate steel, door face, is usually rivited to the casting, and then the cavity is filled with the insulation material.   So the safe is NOT actual a cast iron production, only parts of it.

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 10mb 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 on line 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:  andy@securitysafeusa.com

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)

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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