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Antique Safes/Anique Diebold Safe


Antique Diebold Safe
Antique Diebold Safe  

Antique Diebold Safe
Antique Diebold Safe  
I have an antique Diebold safe which was has been damaged recently unfortunately by vehicle which collided with the building the safe was housed in. As a result, I am in search of a valuation for insurance purposes and was hoping you may be able to assist.

Description: The safe stands over 6' tall and is likely near 5' in width and 4' deep.(I can provide exact measurements if necessary) It has ornate painted designs of which many have faded or tarnished over time. There are two large main doors filled with concrete (I presume)which have an exterior combination dial. Behind the main doors are two additional large doors with another combination dial. Behind those two doors is the interior which has open space at the top and another small door with a combination dial.  

The identifiable markings on the safe are:

Main Right Door (inside panel) -
(The L is a smaller font with an underscore. The T is a smaller font with a dot underneath)

Main Left Door (inside panel) -
Canton, O

Small Interior Door -
Patent Cut Off Spindle Feb 1st 1870

Combination Dials -
Diebold Safe & Lock Co
Patented May 23, 1871

The accompanying picture shows the safe with the main doors open. I would be more than happy to send as many pictures as you determine are beneficial. If there are any other markings or other information needed, please do not hesitate to ask. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.


I would be happy to look at your safe for you.    This is a unique safe, having the fire resistive exterior, a bankers interior, and a jewelers chest.   Nice safe.

There were "TWO" Norris's, associated with the Diebold Safe Company.   John W. Norris was a west coast safe salesman, owning the Norris Safe & Lock Company (about 1870-1935).   Upon completion of a large "sale" to a San Francisco Bank, Norris was made a partner.   The previous company "Diebold & Kienzle" was renamed Diebold & Norris (1874-1876).   Charles Diebold was never one to let an opportunity to make money go by, and providing partnerships in one of the largest safe companies in America was one of the incentives that he used.
The "second" Norris, was a Jno W. Norris was a sales agent (general agent) or distributor for Diebold doing business along the Mississippi River trade routes, from Chicago to New Orleans.   I haven't been able to verify any relationship between the two, however it isn't too much stretch of the imagination to believe that during the "Diebold & Norris" temporary partnership, that an arrangement wasn't made for one of John W. Norris's relatives.

The "dates" on the safe and/or locks relate to the patent "ISSUE" date, and have nothing to do with manufacturing of the safe.    Patents were frequently referred to for periods of up to 20 years, if the item the patent was issued on, was still being used.    So in your case this gives us a period of between 1872 to around 1892 to look at.   Also, by 1870, Diebold had begun using the rounded corners on the safe door.   This practice was continued through the 1920's.

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.   This really applies to any damaged areas or areas that you want me to look at or pay attention to.

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 12mb 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 online, internet 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:

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)


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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