Antique Safes/Weight Range? 4' Hall's (revised - smaller)
QUESTION: Aloha Andy,
I've been invited to collect a family heirloom, a Hall's safe (Cincinnati, white background on the eagle) that was likely of service to one of Hawaii's first hotels.
I quickly need to figure out approximately how much it weighs so that I can determine if I can put in in my pickup (max 1000 lbs), draft my friend with a lift (max 2000 lbs), or need to find something even sturdier.
At this point, I have very little to go on. My family tells me it is approx 4'h x 3'w x 3'd, (including wheels). I have one (potato quality) photo of the door.
It's not a lot to go on, but any chance you can tell me the range of weight to expect for this size of safe. If not, what features should I look for (and photograph) to determine the model or options (records/banker/jeweler/fireproof/burglarproof/etc) that would help me refine an estimate of the weight.
I appreciate any answer, especially given the lack of details.
ANSWER: Hi Robb,
There's a lot more to estimating the weight of a safe, than just a photo and measurements. The interior will have a lot to do with it. If the container is burglary resistive type safe (bankers model), it is going to be SIGNIFICANTLY heavier than the same size fire resistive safe. If it has a Jewelers chest inside - this could easily add 400 to 1000 lbs depending on its size.
As my wife broke my crystal ball about the same time she killed my money tree, I no longer "GUESS" weights.
To give you some ideas - if the safe is a:
Fire resistive type container - ONLY about 1000 to 1500 lbs
Burglary / Bankers type about 2500 to 3000 lbs
Fire resistive with a jewelers chest about 1500 to 2250 lbs
Without knowing more about the container - and without guessing - I would ALWAYS assume the most weight, this way you can't go wrong. If you plan for 3000 lbs and its only 1000, your equipment will be more than adequate. If you plan for 1000 and its much heavier, you could seriously damage your equipment - or worse case you could seriously injure or kill one of your helpers.
Note: I NEVER recommend moving heavy items as a DIY project if you don't have training. I would recommend that you contact a local safe company to have it moved. In the long run it WILL save you time, money and a potential injury or worse a funeral of one of your friends or helpers.
Gravity is NOT your friend, and weight will INJURE really quickly. Extreme weight will kill really quickly.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Aloha Andy,
Thanks you for your previous analysis. I’ve since been able to examine the safe, which is a bit smaller than I was told. Details follow, but briefly it is approximately 2’2”W x 2’D x 3’4”H, with wall thickness between 6 and 6.7”.
I’ve got 3 main questions and a few others should you have the time.
1) Is it possible to estimate a weight range for this size/type safe
2) What is the safe’s type or model (e.g. bankers, fireproof, etc)
3) Do the details help you refine the estimated age of construction?
26.3W x 24.0D x 40.3H Exterior (including 8.0H base/wheels)
13.5W x 12.0D x 19.0H Interior
6.4W, 6.0D, 6.7H (calculated) Wall thicknesses
• 3 of 4 acorns are present. They are tarnished/ brass colored although the hidden sections appear silver
• A wood divider is present in the safe with 5 compartments on the left, 2 on the right. The upper left compartment is a metal box with key.
• The door has two non-operational “cogs” on the right and 3 operational on the left.
• A cementious material is present behind the interior panel of the door.
• The sides of the unit have a recessed panel detail
• I could not view the top or back of the unit.
• “The Hall’s Safe Company/ Cincinnati, O.” (upper door, center)
• Illegible (center of dial)
• “58252” (on handle)
• “Not Hall’s Safe & Lock Co./ which quit business in 1892./ Or its successor.” (white eagle logo, center door, low)
• “H.Hackfeld & Co. LTD Dealers.,Honolulu, T.H.” (bottom of door, center) [assuming T.H. = Territory of Hawaii]
• “393 Broadway, N.Y.” (center, base below door)
• “Hall Patent/ April 3d. 1906.” (interior panel of door, upper center)
• Illegible/rusted (back of interior panel)
4) Does the interior divider/lockbox appear original?
5) Do you know the make of the lock mechanism?
6) Is it possible to change the combination on this unit?
7) I assume you get to the lock via the screw-type access behind the removable interior door panel; anything to add?
8) What’s the significance of “393 Broadway, N.Y.”. I did see this on another safe marked “Kinsey, Rainer and Thompson”
9) Is the scribbling on the back of the door panel something you recognize, or a common location to write something important
10) Any estimates on value as is, and if restored
(additional photos via email)
Based on the photos and size I would estimate your safe to be between 600 to 1000 lbs (probably closer to 800 lbs).
The type of safe would be a fire resistive safe, for document protection from fire. Smaller safes like this were for small businesses or personal use. It has little burglary protection (note the wheels). So only small amounts of cash or valuables.
In order to try to narrow down the containers age, I would need a lot more photos.
The interior is original
The locks were made by Hall's Safe Company. The key lock on the interior compartment is probably a Yale.
I will need to see what lock is installed to answer your question concerning combination changing, but yes it can be changed.
the 393 Broadway, N.Y. location was a sales outlet only.
Kinsey, Rainer and Thompson were distributors and not other wise associated with the manufacturer.
In order to answer questions, identify, evaluate or appraise the “current condition” of your safe, I'm going to need photos. They should include full exterior and interior. Detail photos (close-ups) 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 use a “jpeg” format, not a bitmap (bmp) image. Also, I don’t like “website” photo dumps. While it may be an easy place for you to store them, retrieving photos which allow me to zoom in to look at details, takes a lot of extra time. Please send the requested photos directly to me.
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.