Antique Safes/Acorns


I recently acquired a 1930's ish Herring-Hall-Marvin safe from my mother that sold her house. It has been in my family since early 1975 and, as the story goes, it came from the Hanover Theater in Worcester, Ma. It was in a fire, there are obvious sign of extreme heat on the door, but functional even with slight warpage of the door. The Theatre was under a different name in the 30's but really not important. I have begun to repair the interior and will soon strip the exterior for a full blown restoration. I am missing one acorn, appears to be nickel plated thin stock so after 1917, I was wondering if you might have on kicking around that you are willing to part with versus having 4 machined. The photos are attached.
Peter Booth

Hi Peter,

I probably have several, but they are not simply "kicking around", I have older safe parts which I have saved from the salvagers, for just such projects.   If it were simply "kicking around", that would indicate that it has limited value.   As I am saving these parts for safe restoration, this would indicate that I believe it to have some value.

Price wise, while they are going to be slightly less than machined ones, you won't have to buy four to have a set, though you may still need to have them replated depending on the overall condition.

As far as the "fire", do you actually have knowledge of the fire, or are you just basing it on the cracked condition of the painted surface?    If it is the latter, then you may be wrong about the fire.    Manufacturers used varnish as a standard clear coat for many years.   Varnish will tend to crack or "craze" with years of age, often resembling a surface that appears to have been through heat.    If this is the case, removal of the old varnish may partially restore the painted surface, or at a minimum bring it back to life a little.

As for the possible apparent warpage, there could be a number of reasons causing this.   Without a thorough examination, I can't address this issue.

I would be happy to look through all of the acorns that I have to see if I have something similar to yours, though you will need to send this photo and a request directly to my email.   I won't be in the office until Tuesday, and by then I will have forgotten this request.    I will send you photos of what I have so that you can see what you are getting before I send it.

Obviously before sending it, I will need contact info, shipping info, as well as payment - but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.  

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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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