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Antique Safes/HHM safe.

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UL serial numbers
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HHM Safe
HHM Safe  
QUESTION: Hello,
I'm trying to date a safe that I just bought. It is a HHM safe that came out of an old Missouri Bank that cloused down sometime back in the 1970's. It has a S&G M6730 lock which has all brass wheels and housing. From the style of the logo's and and the type of hardware in the shelf units inside I'm guessing late 1940's to mid 50's. It has the UL fire and Burglary tags and serial number plates attached. I've read up on the history of the HHM safe company and also on the S&G 6730 lock (just bought a lock key to reset the combo)but I'm just curious on the appx. age of the safe. Do any of the UL serial numbers contain the date or the SMNA - Safe Manufacturers' National Association serial number?
Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.

Greg

ANSWER: Greg,

You are almost correct in that this HHM safe is from the LATE 1950's or early 60's.    

In the late 50's due to financial problems, HHM went into bankruptcy.   The company was purchased out of bankruptcy by Diebold in 1959.   Diebold continued to manufacture out of the old HHM facility using this logo, until they were forced to liquidate the company after an "anti-trust" lawsuit filed by the US Government against Diebold.   The factory was closed down and cleaned out between 1962-64.

During the late 1950's through the early 60's "THIS" particular safe was made with both the Diebold and HHM labels.

SMNA also no longer labeled or tested safes after the early 60's, in fact the last reference date that I have for SMNA is 1964.
The UL "T-20" burglary is actually NOT a burglary resistive rating, it was a "Tamper Resistance" rating, used on Fire resistive safes, NOT burglary resistive safes.
The "serial numbers" on the SMNA and UL tags, are the serial numbers for the tags.   There are no published listings for either SMNA or UL tags.    You would have to contact UL to see if they have any serial number listings available, which might help date your safe.

Based on all of the information that I have available, I would place your safe between 1958-1962.

Hope this helps,


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I have one other question. I'm restoring this safe to use as a household gun safe, I've researched and found that the S&G 6730 is a very common lock and is still widely available. In your opinion are the early locks like the one I have which has all brass wheels better than the newer aluminum and brass wheeled locks from S&G?

Thanks
Greg

ANSWER: Greg,

"early" locks go back several hundred years!!!  S&G's 6730 lock is still very current, though changes have been made to the basic design, which in my opinion have only "cheapened" it!   Unfortunately the majority of the buying public are more interested in "cheap' than "quality", which forces most manufacturers to simply make items as inexpensively as possible in order to stay competitive - just look at the crap coming out of the car manufacturers lately to see what I'm talking about - but I digress!

Even though your lock MAY be better built than some of the newer locks, it may also be suffering from 50+ years of wear and tear.   Without actually having your lock in my "hot little hands" to clean, lube, service and inspect, I can't give you an answer on whether or not YOUR lock needs to be replaced.   That is NOT an email question or answer, it will require hands on diagnostics and service!

As far as your "IDEA" concerning retrofitting (NOT restoring) your HHM safe, in to a safe for the purpose of weapons storage, lets look at a couple items to consider first before you waste your time and money.
1.  This safe was designed as a fire resistive safe (ONLY) for the purpose of protecting documents from HEAT.   Nothing more, nothing less.   MAXIMUM storage of valuables for THIS container would be around $3000.   This amount would consider total value of ALL items stored inside of the safe - INCLUDING replacement value of documents.
2.  This container is OVER 50 years old, which means that it DOES NOT meet ANY current standards for fire resistance, and as I've stated - THIS container is NOT a burglary resistive container.
3.  The majority of gun safes built today, are ALSO built to MINIMUM standards, which means that an owner SHOULD NOT be storing combined valuables in excess of $5000, (possibly $10,000 in the BEST quality gun safes on the market).  Again, unfortunately, most buyers do NOT consider what they will be storing in the safe, they simply look at WHAT the safe is going to cost them - and price should be the LAST thing that you consider!

With the CURRENT value of most guns available today, it is VERY easy to exceed these limits very quickly.   For instance I have one gun that is currently worth over $5000, which means that if I were to put that gun in your safe, I would be placing myself in substantial risk.   If your safe were burglarized I would NOT be able to replace this item.

You will have to assess WHAT you plan on storing inside of your container to determine IF it will meet these standards.   Trying to use a safe to secure items which it was not intended for, or NOT recognizing its limitations is simply a recipe for disaster.

Bottom line what your safe is designed for is - when YOU come home after being gone for a weekend or a vacation to find that your house was burglarized or you had a fire, ALL of the items in side of your safe should still be there, unharmed.    Anything less than this should be unacceptable.

As your safe does NOT meet any current standards, it should not be used to store anything other than general purpose documents which can easily be replaced.

Hope that this gives you a little more insight, and info to make an informed decision about your safe.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Really just asked your opinion on whether the 1960's 6730 vs the 2013 6730 was a better built lock.

This safe will be sufficient to store my weapons in. People can get into ANYTHING if they really want too. I live in rural Missouri, I just need something that the average rural burglar is going to pass up and opt for the soft target vs the 500 pound locked box in the corner and to keep the guns out of the hands of my younger grandchildren who get into things when the adults are not around. As for loss? That's what I pay insurance for, If I end up with something that's absolutely irreplaceable then it will end up in a Safe deposit box at my bank in town.

Thank you very much for the historical and technical information on the safe, but here's a little advice from one retired 26+ year career solderer/sailor to another. A little more humility and a little less preaching will go a long way.

Greg

Answer
Greg,

you must have missed my comments concerning your lock.  So, I'll reprint the info concerning it:

S&G's 6730 lock is still very current, though changes have been made to the basic design, which in my opinion have only "cheapened" it!   Unfortunately the majority of the buying public are more interested in "cheap' than "quality", which forces most manufacturers to simply make items as inexpensively as possible in order to stay competitive - just look at the crap coming out of the car manufacturers lately to see what I'm talking about - but I digress!

Even though your lock MAY be better built than some of the newer locks, it may also be suffering from 50+ years of wear and tear.   Without actually having your lock in my "hot little hands" to clean, lube, service and inspect, I can't give you an answer on whether or not YOUR lock needs to be replaced.   That is NOT an email question or answer, it will require hands on diagnostics and service!

as far as your comments concerning my "preaching" - sorry, but when you asked for my "FREE" advice, you get what ever goes along with it.   If you were paying for a certain type of answer, then you would have the right to complain about my opinions.

Also as far as my "preaching", it is NOT my intention to preach to you, it is my intention to give you the best information regarding YOUR safe, and its abilities to perform based on the information that you have provided, including recommendations concerning your use of it.   What you do with the information is up to you, and "I" do not judge you based on your use of the information.   What I expect from you, is to continue to get information from several sources so that YOU can become as knowledgeable as YOU can be, concerning whether or not your safe will provide you with adequate protection.

You are correct in assuming that the average burglars target easy or soft targets, but the information that you don't have is as follows:
1.  crimes of opportunity (this would include your burglars to shop lifters) - about 80 to 85%
2.  crimes done by people that you know and trust (friends, family, employees) about 15-20%
3.  professional criminals (targeting specific assets)   less than 1%

Dollar value taken by each of these three groups:
1.  Crimes of opportunity  -   about 15-20% of the $$$ value stolen each year.
2.  Crimes by people of trust  -  about 80-85% of the $$$ value stolen each year.
3.  professional criminals  -  about 1% of the $$$ value stolen each year.

Information that I pass on to you gives you the BASIC info that you need to make a decision concerning the amount of risk that you wish to take.    Its not preaching - its information.

Again, all I can hope for is to give you that extra edge, so that you can make a decision.   What you actually do is up to you.

And Thank You for your service, as well!

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

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.

Experience

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 AllExperts.com

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

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