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Samuel withers safe
Samuel withers safe  

Samuel Withers Safe
Samuel Withers Safe  
Hello Mike,
We have seen a number of your responses regarding Samuel Withers safes and wonder if you could tell us a little more about ours. Thank you for any help you can give us, I have attached a number of images for your perusal. Regards Jane.

Hello Jane,

Thank you for your enquiry and the pictures.  The whole Withers family were safe makers and I think at one time there were 4 separate factories.  However, the two that we are most familiar with are Samuel and Thomas Withers who were fierce competitors.  Your Sam Witheres safe is described as a 'four corner bent' safe manufactured circa 1890 to 1910.

Simple metal presses had just been introduced so a single sheet of mild steel was bent 4 times to create the top, bottom and two sides of the safe.  A further sheet was fixed by screws or rivets at the back and a frame was inserted at the front to hang a door on.  The cavity between the inner and outer bodies was filled with sand and sawdust and possibly some alum crystals.  This was a primitive form of fire resistant compound and over the years it will have leaked and compacted to leave large voidsin the body through which heat can be efficiently conducted.  The back plate is particularly vulnerable and they are usually attacked by spinning them round and quicly ripping out the back plate.  It will have no facility for anchoring, so it would be relatively easy for intruders to take the whole thing away.

Safes of this age have a limited application as they offer very little resistance to today's well equipped burglar but yours looks in nice condition so it would make a nice drinks cupboard.  An insurer may give cover for up to 1,000 in cash or 10,000 in jewellery in safes of this type.


Michael Palmer FSyI
Mike Palmer Consultancy

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Mike Palmer


I earn my living identifying safes and suggesting cash limits for risk advisors and insurance surveyors in the UK. I'm am pleased to comment on safes manufactured in the UK or Mainland Europe but I am unable to accept questions regarding safes made in the USA or elsewhere.


I have been in the UK safe industry for 40 years and have one of the largest archive databases of old safe literature and serial numbers in the country. I started with Chubb in 1960 and became Assistant Manager of their Bank Security Division before moving on to become the Insurance Liaison Manager with the John Tann Group. I became Sales & Marketing Director for Guardian Safes Limited before semi-retiring. I am a Fellow of the Security Institute and ex-Chairman of Eurosafe UK, a trade body representing the interests of UK safe makers and distributors. I now work as a part time consultant.

I am an advisor to the Safe Committee of the Association of Insurance Surveyors, a Fellow of the Security Institute and founding Chairman of Eurosafe UK.

I have had literally scores of articles published in various security trade publications. So far this year I have had 24 features published in various journals including Keyways, Professional Security, Pawnbroker and Safe India. I have published one book, Peckham Boy, the life and times of the world's greatest safe cracker.

No relevant educational credentials.

Awards and Honors
In 1997 I was awarded the annual shield by the Association of Insurance Surveyors for "..outstanding services to crime prevention"

Past/Present Clients
I have represented or been an agent for the John Tann Group (Stratford, Ratner, Dreadnought and Tann safes); Churchill Safes, Chubb Safe Co Ltd, SLS Safes, SMP Safes, Dudley Safes and several others

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