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Antique Safes/19th Century Chubb fire resisting safe


Chubb safe
Chubb safe  

fire resisting safe
fire resisting safe  
Dear Mike,

Following up on your answer to my inquiry last June 12th, after several months I am still trying to find a locksmith able to pick the lock of my antique Chubb safe - to find serial # and year of manufacturing - here in Valparaiso, Chile. Today I accidentally ran into an almost identical fire resisting Chubb safe as shown on photos (also 128 Queen Victoria st, imported by Graham,Rowe&Cia), with a drilled lock so open. The serial number is 50740w. On the inside of the door it says '..lock&safe makers to His Majesty the King..', I suppose in reference to King Edward VII meaning the safe is made after 1901?
Thanks again for your help, saludos from down south!

Hola Bart,

Good to hear from you again.

The locks on these old safes are not difficult to pick and any locksmith in the UK would do this as a matter or course, so I am sorry it is so difficult to find anyone to do it down your way.  Of course it can be drilled open but you want someone competent or it will end up with a dozen holes.  

Chubb moved into 128 Queen Victoria Street in 1877 but these premises were destroyed by a fire storm following a bombing raid in 1941.  As you are obviously aware, Queen Victoria died in 1901 and was succeeded by King George VII, so you are correct in assuming the safe you saw was made sometime after 1901.  My records show 50740 was made between 1903 and 1905 so it just scrapes into the 20th century.

Good luck with your search to find a good locksmith.

Best regards,

Mike Palmer FSyI
Mike Palmer Consultancy  

Antique Safes

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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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