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Question
I have a problem with an old T Withers & Son (West Bromwich) safe which I have had for a lot of years. Unfortunately I can't find any serial numbers anywhere on the safe to properly identify it for you. It would appear that the spring has gone on the locking mechanism. Is it possible to buy a replacement spring? Or would it be better to just buy a replacement lock and fit that in?
Fred
Retired carpenter
Marseillan Plage, France

Answer
Hello Frederick

I am pretty familiar with the T. Withers & Son safes.

basic history:
Thomas Withers was born into a family of safe makers, learning the trade in his fathers (George Withers) shop.   It appears he began his own business in the early 1870's about the time of his mothers death.   Thomas was about 30 at this time.   He died in 1887, and it appears his sons continued running the business, which was sold in 1943 to John Chesshire.  In the late 1970s the directors of Thomas Withers were Charles Robin Greenwood and John Peter Heweitt, who were also directors of the Churchill Lock and Safe Company and of the Dreadnought Safe Company.  The business remained at Sandwell Road until it folded in the 1980s. Jim Evans said they went into liquidation in 1982 and were removed from the companies register in 1984. All but one wall of their factory was demolished and a street of neat, new two story houses was built on the site.  This street is named Withers Way.

So in answer to your question, as even the most modern safes from this company or is successor company would be at least 35 years old, and possibly closer to 75 years old - NO, you can't simply buy replacement parts.

This gives you several options though - you can possibly find another similar safe to yours to use as a donor safe for parts, or start browsing the internet for locks from these safes, though people don't usually part out safes and list the salvaged items for sale.

The last and possibly best option, would be to have a spring fabricated.   Either make this a DIY project or contact a local spring maker to have one made.    If they could make this stuff by hand 150 year ago, I'm sure you can today.   Spring steel is fairly common to find and if done right, this should be an easy project.

Sorry the answer isn't better, but hopefully I've given you some options.

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

Organizations
Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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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