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Antique Safes/Evans & Watson Safe


I have an Evans & Watson Safe.  Unfortunately, during the time between when I asked for it and later received it, the key was lost.  I understand there was some "sequence" to opening it with the key, something like turn the key so many times one direction and then turn the handle so many times in the other direction.  Any suggestions of how to get it open, get a key made for it, it's value, and if refinishing it would devalue it?

Hi Russ,

Actually yes I do have ideas on how to open the safe, make a key on it, restoration work, etc.    Unfortunately, all of them would require you to ship the safe to me.
As far as "value" - while it locked up and needs all of this work, its value is basically a negative amount - that being the cost to have it opened and repaired, keys made and restoration work done.
Restoration work, if done correctly will increase its value.

I don't know of anyone in your area that I would recommend to open this antique safe and hand fit keys to it.    Again, unfortunately, there are only a small handful of safe technicians in the country that even do this type of work.   Especially making keys for these old antique safes.
Second problem, if you don't use someone who is really familiar with this type of safe, you could wind up with some hack that totally ruins the container.

You can look around at some local safe companies to see if anyone can help you, but this isn't going to be cheap!!!

Unfortunately, having this safe locked up, would be very similar to your needing to get a key made for the space shuttle - it is rare and unique and NOT something that your everyday locksmith or safe technician is going to be able to do.

Regardless of how much they indicate that they want to work on your safe, if they don't have a history of doing this type of work, then I would strongly recommend against it.

Let me know where you and/or the safe are located (zip code) and I'll see who I might recommend having work on the safe.    In any case, plan on shipping it to someone.

Sorry the news isn't better - go back and severely beat the person you got the safe from, for losing the keys!    That little "mistake" is going to prove to be an extremely expensive one!  

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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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