I just bought a HHM safe out of an old barn full if antiques in California. I am mostly wondering about the age of the safe and if there is any way to find out its personal history. It has the numbers 28805 on the handles and "San Francisco" on the front. Any information will be appreciated. Thanks.
Herring-Hall-Marvin got their start as a merger between the "Herring & Farrel safe companies", "Hall's Safe & Lock Company" and the "Marvin Safe Company", in 1892.
During the period between 1892 until mid 1897, safes were still manufactured at each of the original factories in New York, Philadelphia and Cincinnati, until the new consolidated factory in Hamilton, Oh was started. After the consolidation, all manufacturing was done at the new facility and serial numbers were restarted. Unfortunately, there are no records by serial number that provide us with exact dates of fabrication, so we have to take a look at each safe to get an indication on when it was built.
It just so happens that I've got two HHM safes and an HHM vault door at my house, two of which are older, and one slightly younger than your safe, so I've got a pretty good idea of the time frame we are looking at. Your safe would have been built around 1900-1905, possibly 1903ish.
The San Francisco mention was simply a sales office for HHM, and has nothing to do with manufacturing.
As far as "personal History" of the safe - if you have none, and/or have no way of tracing it back through previous owners, then its history basically starts with you! Sorry, manufacturers and sales offices didn't keep detailed records like this, and they certainly never published them for obvious security and liability reasons.
Many companies would paint the name of the original owner across the top edge of the safe, it appears that yours may have been painted over. You might take a really good look at it, as some times a "shadow" of the letters will show through, in just the right light.
You also might try removing the newer paint, carefully. Many times if it is done correctly, the older paint will be visible after the newer paint is removed.
If you can get a name off the safe, then you can start tracking it backwards, or at least come up with some possibilities.
Hope this helps,
What other questions do you have???
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Thank you for your time. I greatly appreciate it. I will look closer and try and figure out the name
on the safe. Thanks Andy.
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