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Antique Safes/Mosler Cannonball Safe Restoration


Mosler Cannonball
Mosler Cannonball  

Mosler Cannonball
Mosler Cannonball  
Hi, A couple of weeks ago I saved the attached Cannonball from the scrap heap and plan to restore it. I have a couple of questions. My apologies up front as I don't know the correct names for the parts but will do my best to describe them.  

1. There is a 'pointer' attached to the door hinge which protrudes through the 'yoke. What is it's function? It looks a bit roughed up, do you know its' original shape? I am thinking it has something to do with door positioning....

2. As we remove the paint we noticed a 'spot' in the top of the 'Barrel'. Is this standard? If so what was its' use? Again guessing, maybe the concrete fill hole?

3. The 'handle' on top of the 'hinge'. Is it made to be disassembled? If so, do you know how? Any idea what type of material the 'grip' is made out of. It looks something like 'Bakelite' We are a little reluctant to try to remove the 'grip' from the handle guidance for fear of breaking it.

4. And finally, We find the number '182-3' stamped on most of the parts and printed on the side of the 'barrel'. Any significance? Manufacturing serial number maybe?

Many Thanks for any information you are able to provide,

Hi Mark,

The best thing I can suggest is for you to email me directly, with INDIVIDUAL photos, so that #1 I can zoom in to look at details, and #2 you can address individual items based on a single photo - instead of asking a question and hoping that I'm going to be able to pick out the correct photo and item from the collage of photos.    The resolution simply isn't there.

Question 1 - I have no idea of what you are describing as a "pointer" protruding through the yoke.    I will need a single photo of this item (JPEG) to see if I can make out what you are describing.

Question 2 - The body of the safe was a casting, this was the top of the POUR HOLE in the casting.   Afterwards, the excess material was removed.   Yes this is normal and after painting it would never be seen again.

Question 3.  The handle should be screwed on to the post.   It probably has 1/2" all thread attaching it to the post.    They used a resin type material, it wasn't "Bakelite", however I can't recall the name at this time.   I'll have to think about it.    I'll probably wake up in the middle of the night going - "oh Yeah, I remember"!

Question 4.  Manufacturers use casting numbers and build numbers to insure that items which may need separate machining, will get back to the same safe.   Build numbers are NOT serial numbers, which were usually NOT assigned until it had been assembled and was ready for shipping.

I would be more than happy to look at your safe to answer specific questions, however I'll need MUCH better quality pics.

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, unless they are very clear and of sufficient resolution.   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.  

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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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