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Antique Safes/Hall's Safe & Lock Company Safe


Hall\'s safe
Hall's safe  
QUESTION: I have a Hall's Safe & Lock Co. Safe , serial #78685. Am I correct in guessing that it was built approx. 1877 ? From checking some of your other answers to people , I think it was painted by John Hauser. Did he paint batches of safes with the same picture during a regular work day or how were the pictures  chosen. Is there a collection of samples of his safe artwork somewhere ?

ANSWER: Norman,

Yes you are correct in that this safe was possibly manufactured around 1877-1878.   And yes there is a really good chance that the art work on this container was done by John Hauser.   You can check with the John Hauser Project to have the painting verified.   Their contact info is:

John Hauser Project
Edward P. Harris

Mr. Harris would possibly love to see the art work to verify it.

Unfortunately I can't answer the question concerning whether or not he painted batches of safes with the same art work or not, as there are no records to check this with, and unfortunately, not enough examples of his work (numbers of available safes) to come up with a conclusion one way or the other.

Hopefully this helps.   If you have any other questions about your safe, I would be happy to answer them for you.

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lock lever
lock lever  
QUESTION: Thanks for your time to answer my first question. Attached are 2 pictures. The first is a picture of the back of the inside door cover that covers the lock assembly. Can you guess at what it might say ? I can see that part of it is the ser # , but I don't know what the rest might mean . The second picture is of the lock mechanism after the lock wheel assembly is removed . The small lever that is in the picture has a threaded hole in the end of it . What is the purpose of that hole ? Is there suppose to be a screw in it ?

ANSWER: Norman,

Sorry, but I can only give you a partial answer.   While the lower numbers are the serial number of the safe, I can only speculate about the upper info, as there are no records to tell us what this is or was.

I've looked at a lot of similar back covers, and none are the same which would indicate that it may simply be a "tag", and not actually related to the safe.   Some of them appear to be initials, which may have been one of the workers way of telling what safes he worked on.   The number may be the quantity.

The numbers on the upper left appear to be "94", which may represent the number of safes in a week, in a month, out of a batch, or by that particular worker.

The lettering on the left may be someone's initials, or some other designation.

Yes, the drive wheel and dial spindle need this screw, it is basically similar to a key way on a shaft that mates a wheel to an arbor.
The screw maintains alignment, so that what ever happens on the outside (the dial) is transmitted to the inside (drive wheel).
without the screw the drive wheel can unscrew from the spindle and become detached.

Hope this helps,

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

QUESTION: Thanks for the response. Sorry , but what I was referring to in the second picture , was the screw hole in the lever on the lower right hand side of the area where the lock wheel assembly would fit in . The lever is attached some how to the door lock pins.When the lock assembly is installed , this lever sits against the wheel assembly . It has a threaded hole in the end of it , but no screw. Is there supposed to be a screw in it.


Sorry, my mistake.   

No there is not supposed to be a screw in this lever arm.   This is actually the relocking device, and it "rests" against the wheel curb, when it is installed.

This lever pivots up and down (gravity), to block the movement of the bolt work, if the lock is attacked.

Note:  If it (and the lock) is not assembled correctly then the bolt work WILL NOT retract correctly, which may result in a lock out if the door is closed.

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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