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Antique Safes/Hall's Safe and Lock Co.

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QUESTION: Andy,

I purchased a safe that's fully functioning.  The person I got it from has no idea who the manufacturer was.  By its appearance it is a Hall's Safe and Lock Co.  One of your pictures on your website shows it well.  The top is different than any manufacturer I can find.  Could you look at this picture and let me know if youy agree.  I will gladly send more pictures if you tell me where to send them.  I intend to refurbish it keep it myself.

ANSWER: Hi Vince,

Never try to guess a safe manufacturer.   If you don't have exact information or ID, then you have no Idea who may have made it.    Trust me, if it isn't easy for most safe technicians to ID older safes like this, then you are certainly going to have trouble.

Before even throwing out a guess, I would need a lot more photos.   I'm not sure what website you are referring to as I don't have a website.   If you are indicating this website - it is not mine - I'm simply a volunteer here.   As far as any photos on this site, ALL of them are submitted by owners or potential buyers, hoping to ID their safes.

Your safe has a lot of things going against it for identification purposes.   First is the paint job.   Chances are what ever is (or was) left is now gone.   Second is the missing interior - what you have is NOT original.    And third and more important is the lock.    Someone has retrofitted an incorrect lock, potentially loosing a lot of its antique value.

while it does keep it operational, the value will suffer because of the lock.

I would be more than happy to look at your safe to see what I can come up with for you, but I'll need much better photos.

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:  andy@securitysafeusa.com

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 ----------

QUESTION: Thanks Andy.  When i stripped the back of the safe etched into the metal is the labeling "Hall's Standard Safe".  I'm was at least close to knowing the manufacturer.

Answer
Hi Vince,

There were "TWO" Hall's safe companies, though they were very closely related they were different companies.
Joseph Hall began making safes with is father Edward in the early 1840's, eventually renaming his company in 1867 as "Hall's Safe & Lock Company".   In 1889 after Joseph's death, his three sons (Edward, William and Charles Hall) took charge with Edward as President and William as Treasurer.    In 1892 they merged this company with three others to form the "Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Company" (the fourth company was the Farrel Safe Company).
In 1896 after a falling out with the board of directors of HHM, over plans to move the four factories to one central location in Hamilton, OH, the three brothers left HHM to form a new company "Hall's Safe Company".   Over the next 10 years or so, HHM filed several lawsuits against the brothers over the use of the name "Hall's".    The lawsuits eventually found their way to the Supreme Court where it was found that while they gave up ALL rights to the original Hall's Safe & Lock Company and/or even mentioning that they learned the trade while children working for their father, they did not give up the right to use their name.

I've seen safes from both companies that have listed safes as their "Standard" safe, but based on your original photos, I would have to agree that your safe is probably from the original company, though probably manufactured during the latter years.   So while your guess WAS correct, it doesn't change my original premise about correctly identifying a safe and NOT making a "best guess".

Where are we at now - basically the same place we were after your original question, we still have to identify exactly what you have to determine approximately when it was made.    Once we have narrowed it down more specifically, I can look through any photos that I have to see if I have something with Art work, for you to work from during your restoration.

Send me all of the requested photos so we can finish your identification and evaluation.

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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

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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