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Antique Safes/Antique Hall Safe


QUESTION: We have recently inherited a Halls Safe, floor model with steel wheels approximately 100 years old.  We have the combination and it was in working condition until a year ago when the indicator dial stopped turning.  The door will no longer latch and the dial won't turn.  Any suggestions?

ANSWER: Hi Shelley,

You didn't mention whether or not the safe door is locked open or closed?????    That WOULD make a big difference.

If the safe is locked open, then it may simply need service and repairs.

If the safe is locked shut, then it would have to be opened before any repairs can be made.

As far as whether or not it is an antique or not WILL be determined after it is opened and repaired.   If it is ruined during the opening procedures then it really doesn't matter how old it is - a boat anchor is still just a boat anchor!

You mentioned that you are in California - I cover most of Northern California and I have several friends that I could refer you to in Southern California that can open your safe and repair it.    Costs will depend on what's actually going on with it.    Until I have more info, I can't even hazard a guess at this point.

You can also check your local yellow pages under "safes & vaults" to see if there are any companies in your area.

Sorry I can't be of more help at this point, but generally mechanical issues require HANDS ON diagnostics and solutions.

Let me know if I can be of further help.

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


Thank you for the reply.  The door is open.  We have a locksmith who will look at it, but don't know at this point whether that will help or not.  We are in Whittier,  about 20 miles east of LA.  Is there somebody you could recommend in the general area?  The safe will have to be moved to our house from Grandpa's place and it would probably be best to do that, then have it worked on.

Thanks again for your help.


Hi Shelley,

First off, I NEVER recommend using most locksmiths as they generally do NOT have the training, education or tools necessary to work on safes.    While safe men are usually also locksmiths, rarely are locksmiths also safe men.

A couple of my favorite companies that I use and would recommend in the LA area are:

Stratton Safes
877-765-7233         Neil Stratton
240 Maple Ave #G
Beaumont,  CA 92223

Professional Safe Cracking
760-805-2958          Todd Kerm
All of Southern California
Temecula, CA 92590

Todd is a very good safe technician but is basically a mobile service, while Neil actually has a brick and mortar safe company.   But either one of these guys would be very good, however Neil also has all of the equipment necessary to safely move your safe.

My recommendation if your safe needs work and also need to be moved - give Neil a call.

Hope this helps,  

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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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