Antique Safes/Mosler Safe Identification and Info
QUESTION: I recently purchased a storage building packed with old "stuff" including this Mosler safe. It's a double sided safe with a round door on the left and a rectangular door (two hinges) on the right. Approximate dimension are 36" wide by 22" deep by 32" tall. Of course I don't have the combinations and have searched both the safe and area to no avail. I took the right side door home to my garage and have determined its combination but haven't been able to try it on the other door in hopes that the combinations are the same (oh, to be so lucky). I've also tried the 50/25/50 combo without success. I cannot find a serial number on the handles or metal tags. The patent number tag has the most recent patent dated from 1936 so I'm assuming it's newer than that. It appears it was sold from a Mosler safe dealer in Kansas City and there is a number on that tag: OS 198. I've searched hundreds of Mosler safe pictures on Google Images and can't find anything close. In closing - do you know anything about it? With a few parts, it could be put back in pretty good shape. Is it worth the effort? Thanks!
Doesn't matter if you found a serial number or not - ALL mosler safes manufactured after the 1960's either had the "50-25-50" combo, or a single number "50" combination. The "original" combination for the safe would be set WHEN the safe was sold to the first customer. There are no records of this type of information.
It is a good guess, to try the combination on the larger square door on the round door. Many owners will set them the same. As this particular safe was probably used by a market of some type, chances are the combinations were NOT set the same. The square door was for use by the regular store personnel, and was where the daily operating tills and cash would be stored. The other section was the depository, where cash to be sent to the bank would be placed. The owner would have been the only one with this combination. This container may also have a secondary door inside, with a dual custody key lock. The manager and an armored car service would have the keys to this door. When armored arrived, they would present their key, and the manager would open the inner door to retrieve the deposits to send to the bank.
This Round door chest WAS the security chest for this safe.
If the combination for the square door doesn't work, then your options include trying all of the 1,000,000 possible combinations for this lock, or having the safe opened by a local safe companies, safe technician.
NOTE: I never recommend using locksmiths for safe work as they generally do not have the training, knowledge or tools to work on safes.
If you don't have a local safe company, let me know where you are located (zipcode) and I'll see who I know in your area.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
Thanks for the quick response! Because of some of the other equipment this safe was surrounded by, it might have come from either a doctor's clinic or an auto body shop. From the condition, I think I'd lean to the body shop.
Just a few follow-up questions:
1. The hinges are pretty worn. There has been some flattening of the brass hinge knuckles where they supported the weight of the door and the pin holes are elongated and warbled out, too. The large slotted brass screws that attached the hinge wings to the door have been attacked, and while still functional (and probably removable), are pretty mangled. Are parts even available or would I have to these repaired or some new ones machined?
2. Can you hazard a guess on the model or the approximate age of the safe?
3. Without asking for a specific value, do you think the safe is worth some time and money to restore? Or does it have more worth as scrap metal. I'm always loath to destroy something from the past and would rather bring it back to decent condition.
Thanks again for your time and expertise!
parts are not available and would have to be manufactured. While some lock and safe companies do salvage some locks and handles, generally we do not keep hinges, castors, bolt work, etc. etc. etc.
The market is simply too small to justify storing all of these old parts for years and years.
Unfortunately, these safes have no commercial or retail value, and unless you find a small market that wants to use an obsolete safe where parts are not going to be available, then it isn't worth while.
On the other hand, if YOU are repairing the safe for YOUR use, and you like it, then there is no such thing as too much cost to restore.
Bottom line as much as I would like to see every safe restored and in useable condition, there is a break even point at which repair costs out weigh useable value.
If the round door chest was open, and operational, however cost to open & repair that chest, as well as the labor to get it useable and/or operational isn't going to show any cash benefit. If you decide to make it operational, rather than repairing the hinges and the square door, I would recommend installing some nice wooden cabinets or a wine storage locker, and using the safe for storage of your more expensive liquers.
Just think, of it as a conversation piece that everyone coming to your house is going to talk about. How does that commercial go: Cost of wine $12 a bottle, plate of cheese $5, look on your friends face when you pull the liquer out of the chest - priceless!