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Antique Safes/1897 Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe


safe graphics
safe graphics  
Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe
Herring-Hall-Marvin Sa  
QUESTION: I am hoping you can give me some information about this old safe. We are trying to restore it but many of the graphics are missing. I wonder if there are any pictures of it in it's original state available.


first questions:
1.  Where did you come up with, that this is a Herring-Hall-Marvin safe???  and
2.  Where did you come up with the 1897 date???

What this is, is a Hall's Safe & Lock Company, Full Automatic Bankers Safe.   The bolt work is controlled by the time lock and bolt operating mechanism.  This safe has no combination lock installed.

I do have some photos of some bankers chests from about the same time period, however they were not Full Automatics, but it will get you some ideas for your restoration art work.

You can also try removing the paint one layer at a time to see what lays below the surface.   With extra work and care, I've seen full art work revealed below newer paint.   Generally the older paint is harder and takes more to remove it than the newer surface coats.

If your safe actually has a Herring-Hall-Marvin company logo, then it was either manufactured between 1892-1897, or this was a left over before the 1892 merger, but which was sold as a HHM safe.   Either way we need to determine what you actually have - it may be older than you think.

In order to answer specific questions, identify, evaluate or appraise your safe, I'm going to need photos.  They should include full exterior and interior.  Detail photos should include pictures of the dial, handles, hinges, artwork, locks, bolt work, castors, cabinetry and any special details or damage.  Note:  You may have to remove the back panel on the door to gain access to the lock & bolt work – I will need these pics.
If you have a particular detail that you have a question about, I will need a photo of it along with your question.

I will also need to see any documentation that you have in regards to your safe.  If your safe has a unique historical perspective, you should be able to document this with letters, newspaper articles or photos, if not it is simply a story and will have no bearing on the value of your safe.

Please use as high a resolution as possible so that I can examine details of your safe.  Pictures which are low resolution, out of focus, or from a distance don’t help when we try to evaluate the container.  Note:  with higher resolution, you may only be able to send 2-4 pictures per email, depending on the size of the file, I have a 12mb limit per email.  If photos are larger than 2mb each, you may only be able to send 2 or 3 photos per email, requiring several emails.

Please don’t send me “cell phone” photos.   Also, please don’t use online, internet photo drops as most of these also don’t allow me to easily access the photos for examination.   Send the pics directly to me, while this may be more work for you, it will make my job easier.

Please send all of the requested photos to:

Note:  As I am in the field several days each week, covering a huge service area, I may not get back to your photos immediately, but I will respond as soon as I get an opportunity.  Due to field work, emails may tend to get backed up which means I may not answer them immediately.

Our informal evaluation is at no charge, however if you feel you need a formal evaluation or appraisal for insurance, estate sales, donations for tax write offs, or to establish it as an antique, there is an administrative fee for this service.

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

Name on safe
Name on safe  

QUESTION: Here are a few pictures of the safe that I sent pictures of earlier.  I'm sorry they are not more clear.
The safe says " patent 1897. We are removing paint very slowly and carefully to reveal more.  It has the name
Herring-Hall-Marvin on the front along with " The Bank of Geneva " in large letters if that helps. I'm hoping that you
may have some pictures of the artwork and also maybe tell me what metal this is made of . Any information is greatly

Hi Sue,

Send me photos of your safe including photos of the "patent" date engraving, so that I can figure out what you actually have.

Basic History:
Hall's Safe & Lock Company (1867-1892), Cincinnati, OH.
Merged with three other companies to form Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Company, in 1892, though manufacturing continued at the four separate facilities until mid 1897, when the factories were consolodated in the new facility in Hamilton, OH.

As far as what the safe is made from - again I'll need to see photos to determine exactly what you have, but as it appears to be a Bankers Automatic Model, the walls of the safe are made of layers of laminated Steel, of varying degrees of hardness.

Send all of the requested photos, along with detail photos of items which you have specific questions concerning to me at:

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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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