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Antique Safes/photo of safe draw lock


Hi Mick

I have recently bought a Robert TANN defiance safe that has 2 draws in the bottom. Neither draw has a lock. As I live in Australia would you possible have a photo of what a draw lock would look like so he they cold possibly find one to suite. Better still would be if you could tell me where t buy them.
!regards Robert.

Hello Robert,

Thank you for your question.  What you have is a false Tann.  John Tann was the world's first safe maker and was very well known.  All their safes were made in their Reliance Safe Works and had an anchor trade mark.  However, many safe makers tried to trade on John Tann's reputation and one was Robert Tann with their cheekily named Defiance Safes.  John Tann was forced to issue warnings about immitators in their catalogues and even showed illustrations of the R Tann Defiance name plate.

My guess is that your safe is well over 100 years old so it is not possible to buy replacement locks over the counter.  My only suggestion is that you locate a local dealer in used safes.  These late Victorian safes are worth very little and when dealers supply a new safe they will often take the old one away and scrap it, so it may be possible that they would have a safe going for scrap that could have a couple of brass drawer locks. Also I have occasionally seen them for sale on ebay, but the chances of finding an R Tann match are pretty slim.

As I am not a dealer in used safes I have never had any reason to take pictures of drawer locks.

If you have found this answer useful, it would be helpful if you could take a moment to rate it.

Kind regards,

Mike Palmer FSyI
Mike Palmer Consultancy

Antique Safes

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Mike Palmer


I earn my living identifying safes and suggesting cash limits for risk advisors and insurance surveyors in the UK. I'm am pleased to comment on safes manufactured in the UK or Mainland Europe but I am unable to accept questions regarding safes made in the USA or elsewhere.


I have been in the UK safe industry for 40 years and have one of the largest archive databases of old safe literature and serial numbers in the country. I started with Chubb in 1960 and became Assistant Manager of their Bank Security Division before moving on to become the Insurance Liaison Manager with the John Tann Group. I became Sales & Marketing Director for Guardian Safes Limited before semi-retiring. I am a Fellow of the Security Institute and ex-Chairman of Eurosafe UK, a trade body representing the interests of UK safe makers and distributors. I now work as a part time consultant.

I am an advisor to the Safe Committee of the Association of Insurance Surveyors, a Fellow of the Security Institute and founding Chairman of Eurosafe UK.

I have had literally scores of articles published in various security trade publications. So far this year I have had 24 features published in various journals including Keyways, Professional Security, Pawnbroker and Safe India. I have published one book, Peckham Boy, the life and times of the world's greatest safe cracker.

No relevant educational credentials.

Awards and Honors
In 1997 I was awarded the annual shield by the Association of Insurance Surveyors for "..outstanding services to crime prevention"

Past/Present Clients
I have represented or been an agent for the John Tann Group (Stratford, Ratner, Dreadnought and Tann safes); Churchill Safes, Chubb Safe Co Ltd, SLS Safes, SMP Safes, Dudley Safes and several others

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