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Antique Safes/age of safe


We have a herring-hall-marvin safe we stripped 4 coats of paint off of it down to bare metal and did not find numbers of any kind on it one of the drawers had a number 101285 in pencil and it could this be the ser.# and is short 1 acorn would like to know where to get one and the handle on it is wood should it be metal the measurements are 24 1/2"wide-25"deep-36"tall


The serial number to the safe is usually stamped onto the ball of the handle on the exterior door, however safes built after the 1920's may not have them at all.   Numbers that are "penciled" are NOT from the factory, and are probably something that was written at some point by an owner.

Replacement hinge acorns are not available, however some safe companies will salvage useable parts off of older safes which are being scrapped, which means, other than contacting every known safe company to see if they might have one, there is no listing of parts which might be around.
You can always have a replacement fabricated by a local machine shop, though if you are going to go to this expense, I would recommend replacing them all at the same time so they will match, and possibly keep the cost down.   Its actually easier for them to make multiples than to make one single acorn.   The cost for setup, measurements, etc. is the biggest part of the cost.

I'm not sure what handle that you are referring to.   If you are talking about the handle for the main safe door, to cut costs, many of the safe companies changed from cast/plated handles, to a more generic design utilizing standard parts which would be assembled into a handle for instance.   The "wood" handle, may have been one of these, though usually it would have been plastic or a similar material.   It may also have been replaced by an owner who broke his handle, and simply made a replacement rather than looking for a factory handle.   Remember that during the 40's & 50's people were much more interested in "doing it themselves" than buying premade "stuff".    After WWII and the 1950's people were starting to see a more robust economy with more disposable income, and the 1960's was heralded as a "look to the future".   Though it was probably the downfall of many people learning to actually fix stuff themselves.

If you would like to send me photos of items that you have questions about, or parts you are looking to replace, I would be happy to see if I have anything that might work for you.

Photos should be good quality resolution (around 1mb), and clear - if you can't see the item then neither can I.   You would be surprised at how many photos I receive that are unviewable!

Send the photos to me at:    and I'll take a look at them.

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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