Antique Safes/Identify lock type and safe info
QUESTION: I recently purchased this safe that was drilled for a fair price. I could not locate any parts for the lock, and had to make parts. I would like to find an original lock intact, but not sure what I'm looking for. Numbers on the lock are **18. That's all I can make out. Is this the original lock? Can you tell me more about the safe? Thank you in advance.
ANSWER: Hi Dan,
Based on the photo that you provided, my first guess is that the safe is a late model Mosler, Bahmann & Company safe, late 1880's through the mid 1890's.
The lock appears to be a Yale 062-1/2, indirect drive, four wheel lock. The bolt engages the handle cam. When the lock is in the locked position, the safe handle will rotate freely. when the lock has been unlocked - lock bolt retracted, it pulls the handle cam engagement collar over, engaging the handle and bolt work, so that turning the handle will retract the door bolts, opening the safe.
If it is a Mosler, Bahmann & Company safe, this company began in 1867 by Gustave Mosler and Fred Bahmann, in Cincinnati, Oh. In 1874 after Gustave's death, his heirs had a falling out with the company and Fred Bahmann, leaving they began a new company called Mosler Safe and Lock Company - also in Cincinnati, Oh.
The Mosler Safe & Lock Company remained in Cincinnati until 1891 when they moved their operations to Hamilton, OH. Mosler, Bahmann & Company remained in Cincinnati and operating until the late 1890's.
I actually have a large double door Mosler, Bahmann safe in my show room, with this same lock, so I'm very familiar with it, the lock and its operation.
Before going of, half cocked - so to speak, I would recommend that we actually identify what you have. While we have made a tentative ID based on a couple close up photos, this doesn't guarantee a "POSITIVE" ID.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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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QUESTION: You are absolutely correct. This safe was made in Cincinnati and has the name Bahmann included. Also serial number is in the 45000 range. Does this place it @ 1877 give or take? The dial is a black dial that says Sargent&Greenleaf. Probably not the original dial. Do you know where I can get a complete lock for this safe? It has a bad repaint as well on the exterior. I plan to sandblast and repaint. Do you have any pictures that I can use to bring this back close to original? Is this a fire safe, or a burglary safe? What little I do know, I learned on this site!
Unfortunately, there are very few records available for safe serial numbers and it does appear that they may have been started over at various times, but as I mentioned originally I would place your safe in the LATE 1880's or early 1890's. I don't know where you came up with the 1877 date.
The dial is NOT original, and has been replaced at some point. Either the original was damaged by a burglary attempt or by a locksmith who didn't know what he was doing. This DOES affect the value.
Replacement locks are not available, unless you find a donor safe or talk someone out of a lock in their collection, but unless you have some serious $$$'s, I doubt that is going to happen.
If you are going to restore the safe, then yes I would probably start with sand blasting the skin, and then primering and fairing the surface. Then you can paint it the color you would like and then add all the art work. Final step would be clear coating. Originally the manufacturer simply used a good varnish to protect the painted surface.
This safe is a fire resistive safe, designed to provide document protection - it is NOT a burglary resistive safe.
I do have some photos, but you will need to send a request directly to my email address. I'm out of the office until next Monday or Tuesday, and my emails will have backed up considerably, so I'll answer your request for photos as soon as I'm able.