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Antique Safes/Van Dorn Safe


Front of safe
Front of safe  

I was recently given this safe. Looking for any information you could possibly give me about it. I don't have the combination for it. Seeing if you could recommend a safe technician in the New Orleans, LA area.

Hi Michael,

There have been a lot of companies selling "office equipment" during the 1920's through the 1960's, during which time "METAL" Office furniture was "the big thing to have".    While some of these companies were actually manufacturers of metal office furniture, many were simply distributors.

Even the distributors would have name tags made up, which they placed on everything that they sold, for "advertising purposes".  While Van Dorn was a manufacturer, they purchased lines of metal office equipment that they did not themselves manufacture.

In 1898, the Van Dorn Iron Works Company was incorporated, a large addition was made to the plant and the manufacture of a structural iron work begun. Many additions have since been made to the factory and to the list of products, art metal furniture for offices becoming an important line.   (biography of James Van Dorn

The safe in the photo that you have provided appears to be a "Schwab Fire resistive, cabinet safe", from the late 1920's through early 1940's.

Probably the closest company that I would recommend would be:

Southern Safe & Vault          About 70 miles away
228-206-1393         Ron Jewel
1005 Debra Dr.
Gulfport, Mississippi  39503

A little closer, however I don't have any personal knowledge of his work, is:

After hours Safe & Lock          About 30 miles away
985-641-9695          Steve Lemoine
SLIDELL, LA   70458

While there may be some closer companies to you, I don't personally know of them, so you will need to do YOUR research, to determine if they are someone you would want to work for you.
Generally, anyone who can't flat rate their pricing, for a safe like this - doesn't know what they are doing and should probably be avoided.   I also DO NOT recommend using locksmiths for safe work - I've seen too many butchered safes by well intentioned locksmiths who want to learn the safe trade.

Hope this helps,  

Antique Safes

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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

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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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