Antique Safes/Safes



Wanting an idea of how old this safe that my grandfather gave me might be. I have several more pictures I can send to you.


Azor S. Marvin began selling safes in 1838.   In 1843 when Daniel Fitzgerald and Enos Wilder secured a patent and had begun the manufacture of the first so called "Salamander Safes", which were fire resistive, they approached Mr. Marvin as they needed more capital (money) as the business was growing.   A few years later Silas C. Herring also secured a right to manufacture safes under this patent.    From at least 1842 until 1846, Azor S. Marvin was listed as a sales agent for Wilder's Patent safes, also selling similar safes manufactured by Roberston & Rich, and/or Rich & Company's Improved Patented Salamander Safes.  Patent rights passed through a series of "successors" - Rich & Roff, Roff & Stearns to Stearns & Marvin.
Between 1848 to 1860 Stearns & Marvin manufactured safes out of their New York facility at 144 & 146 Waters Street.   This was the only safe maker to combine both the Wilder's Patent AND the Rich & Company patents.    In November of 1860 Stearns sold out to Marvin and delivered possession of all the stock of safes on hand.   In a court case at the time, it was determined that as Marvin did NOT have the rights to the patents, (he was only a partner) to the firm which was protected in the manufacturer of safes, protected by the "license" issued to Stearns.   When Stearns retired, the  license came to an end, and the rights of the patentee terminated.
Azor S. Marvin began selling and manufacturing safes of his own design at this time.

An interesting note:   Painter Antonio Nicolo Gasparo Jacobsen (1850-1921) worked briefly for Marvin between 1871 to 1880 decorating the doors to the safes of the Marvin Safe Company.   His artwork generally depicted portraits of vessels, ships or boats.

The Marvin Safe Company continued in business until 1892, when they merged with Hall's Safe & Lock Company and Herring Safe Company (which included the Farrel Safe Company), to form Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Company, which lasted until it was acquired by Diebold during Bankruptcy proceedings in 1959 and the factory subsequently closed down between 1962-64.

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Antique Safes

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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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