Antique Safes/A key


Hi, I found a key with the things from my Great Grand Father ,He was Charles William Andrews . He lived in Brooklyn ,NY . The key has marks on it  .  J M Mossman New York with the  number 102 at the top all on one side .  Would like to know more about the key . Thank you


While I can't tell you anything about the key or what lock it might go to, I can give you a brief history on J.M. Mossman - courtesy of "American Genius - Nineteenth century bank locks and time locks" by John & David Erroll

John Malcolm Mossman was born on June 9th, 1846, at 386 Greenwich Street in New York City, the eldest of the seven children of Malcolm Mossman and Christina A. Watson, who had both emigrated from Edinburgh, Scotland.
Always industrious and hardworking, Mossman left school at the age of twelve to work with his father, who had recently established a safe and lock business.  Malcolm Mossman had been a foreman for the well known safe maker Silas Herring, but two years later, in 1860, Malcolm Mossman died, age 45.  John Mossman and his mother maintained the newly formed business for five trying years, until agreeing to combine with another well known safe maker - William Terwilliger.   Shortly after, John was sent to the Chicago Works of Terwilliger & Co., and at the age of nineteen he was made foreman over two hundred workmen.   When Terwilliger & Co., failed in 1876, young John returned to New York and found a business partner in Ira L. Cady, founding Cady & Mossman in 1877.   Cady died in 1878 and Mossman continued alone, later bringing his brother William into the business.   Mossman's business grew and soon included not only the buying and selling of safes, but also the sales, installation, cleaning and care of the most complicated combination and time locks on bank safes and vaults throughout New York City.
Over the years, John Mossman parlayed his engaging personality, business acumen, and expertise in his field into a national following among bankers and bank architects.    Gradually he devoted an increasing portion of his time to the design and oversight of burglar and fireproof bank vaults and safe deposit vaults.   By the late 1880's his was considered the last word in such matters, and Mossman was overseeing projects for the largest banks and most important architects throughout the United States, including the Treasury Department, as well as numerous institutions in Europe.
John retired in 1906, and divided his business into two parts, one to handle the sales of office and bank safes and the other to handle time lock maintenance contracts.   Mossman turned over his safe sales business and its offices to the York Safe & Lock Company, but retained the time lock business forming the "J.M. Mossman Company, with Thomas F. Keating.
On March 6th, 1912, John Mossman died from a sudden onset of typhoid fever.

So chances are, if your key has the name "J.M. Mossman, New York", it could possibly be from something that was made or sold by his company between the 1906 to 1912 dates.

Sorry I can't tell you WHAT the key actually goes to, but my wife broke my crystal ball about the same time she killed my money tree.

Hope this gives you some history and info, and as the late Paul Harvey would say - "And NOW, you know the rest of the story".

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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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