Hello, my name is Brett. I recently helped a older widow move from her large home to a assisted living facility. While cleaning out her basement I came across what I believe to be a strongbox. She was gonna just throw it out so I decided to take it. She did not know anything about it other then her late husband acquired it threw a friend. The box exterior measurements are 24"L x 18"W x 14"D, the interior measures 19"L x 13"W x 14"D. There is three hasps on the lid, the middle one pivots on the top of the box to reveal a keyhole for a internal lock. It looks to me made of iron, and I weights at around 150 lbs. The internal lock functions properly, and has a button on the inside of the lid that when pushed makes the bolt pop out to automatically lock the box when the lid is closed. I assume that is its purpose at least. The box is yellow and orange. I don't think this is the original colors unless it was made for a magician or something. The box is rusty but looks like there is some black paint so I think that might be the original color. I was hoping to find out who and when this box was made and the value. Also if it would be a bad idea to remove the clown paint on it. Thank you for your time and any information you can provide. I have several other photos but the web page will only allow two uploads.
Got me! This is a new one on me. I specialize in SAFES not boxes like this, though many similar chests were built by safe manufacturers. Unfortunately I will need MUCH better photos to try to ID it for you.
I definitely like the way the center hasp rotates out of the way to reveal the main key lock.
One of the reasons that they had multiple locks on chests like this, was to require multiple people to be present to open it. The extra locks didn't provide as much in security as they basically were designed to keep the honest people honest. If you had several business partners, and you needed to transfer valuable documents or valuable items, the various partners would lock the chest when the items were placed inside, and they would again unlock the chest at the other end of the journey. This would not have been an express box as it would have been owned by a business for transfer of important "stuff"!
As this probably wasn't something that was built as a "production" item, it may have been more of a specialty item, or something that an individual built or requested built.
unless you have documentation of historical use, and unless we can actually date the item, I wouldn't worry to much about cleaning it, or removing the old paint. In fact removing the "clown paint" may reveal some of the original graphics (if there are any).
I would need to see much better photos of the container and especially the lock, or any items on the container that have numbers or names, to try to ID it for you.
Feel free to send any and all photos of the container to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll take a look at it for you.
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
Organizations Safecrackers International and the
National Antique Safe Association
Safe & Vault Technicians Association
Publications The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes
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