Antique Safes/safe identification
I have an old safe in a building I bought. The combination dial has Sargent & Greenleaf with patent dates Sept 18 1860, Jan 9 1866, July 14 1867, EX. 7 YEARS and July 14 1871 and well as 22503 on the handle. From the answers on your webpage I assume it is one of the Diebold series but I cannot find any identifying marks. I opened the panel on the back locking mechanism and the number 6763 is painted. The only other identifiable mark is a floral cluster on the inside of the door that extends onto the lock mechanism plate. The safe box itself is 25” deep, 29 ½” wide, 33 ½” high and the door is 6 ½” thick with corner legs and rollers.
I am curious what the make is and is there still value as a safe? I have the combination but have not tried it. The back seems to be attached with large recessed tampered machine screws so I am assuming that this safe is a shell filled with concrete or some such material. I’m also curious what this safe might weigh? I need to remove it and sell it or scrap it. Any additional information would be of interest to me.
The lock is probably the S&G "C60" series lock - there four versions of this lock, so I would need more information to determine the exact lock model. Numerous safe manufacturers used this lock, so just having a "description and a couple photos" doesn't lend to much of an identification.
Based on the photo of the "front" of the safe, I would venture a guess that your safe is a Mosler-Bahmann safe.
The Mosler-Bahmann & Company, Cincinnati, Oh, was in business manufacturing safes from 1867 until around 1898. Rumor's that this was the beginning of the Mosler Safe & Lock Company are actually slightly inaccurate as Mosler Safe got its start AFTER Gustave Mosler's death in 1874, when his heirs had a falling out with Fred Bahmann. Mosler's sons started the new company in Cincinnati, eventually moving to Hamilton, OH in 1891. These were two totally separate companies.
Fred Bahmann continued Mosler-Bahmann until the late 1890's (around 1898), but I (as yet) don't have a reason for his closing the company. Bahmann originally got started in business with Charles Diebold in 1859 as Diebold-Bahmann Safe & Lock Company. Eight years later (for an unknown reason, Bahmann left Diebold and started Mosler-Bahmann with Gustave Mosler. The split was probably over the "partnership" as Diebold had a habit of changing partners the way most of us change underwear!!! Almost immediately after Bahmann's departure, Diebold added Jacob Kienzle as a partner and the firm became Diebold-Kienzle Safe Company.
There is a little more history than this, but it gives you the "basics".
As there are very few records available for serial numbers from any manufacturer, the best we can do is to take known information, patent dates, numbers of safes, etc. etc. etc. and guestimate a "period" that it was probably made between In most cases this is going to be about a 10 year period. In this case, your safe would probably have been built around 1880 (1878-1883).
As for the combination, I would recommend testing it with the door locked OPEN. DO NOT close and/or lock the door until the combination has been tested successfully several times. If it isn't working or you can't get it to operate correctly, I would recommend having checked out and/or serviced by a trained safe technician.
As far as weight, I would estimate that your safe is going to be in the 1600 to 2000 lbs range. The insulation material was NOT concrete - it was a proprietary insulation of various items to be heat resistant, such as gypsum, plaster of Paris, mortar, Alum, etc. etc.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.