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Antique Safes/Is the filling asbestos ??


QUESTION: I have a file safe also which the scrap yard refuses to take saying it is filled with cement / concrete. With that, I took the cutting torch to it and opened it up all around in which I found a soft like concrete / cement material. My question,,,,, does the ? material contain asbestos ???

     Thanks, Joe Black


I have no idea!

This would be like asking me "I have a dog, do you know what color it is???".

Unfortunately, my wife broke my crystal ball about the same time she killed my money tree.   LOL

Without more information - like a manufacturer's name - I can't answer this.    Out of over 400 manufacturers only a handful every used asbestos as an insulation material.    No one has used it since at least the early 1960's.

If you don't have a manufacturers label or name plaque, your only other option would be to submit a sample of the insulation material for testing.    If you don't have a HAZMAT testing facility locally (check with the local fire department to see if they have a test facility), then you may have to use a "By Mail" facility.

You can pick up a home test kit at most Hardware stores - Lowes, Home Depot, ACE Hardware, CVS Pharmacies, etc. or by going on line to:

follow the instructions to submit the sample for testing.

Hope this helps.     If you do find a manufacturers name on the container, let me know - this would really help.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I guess I should have been more factual. It was much the same file cabinet as the question I read that you answered previous. Anyways,
Large tag,  SPEC " F2 - ND "   Y823829
      Built to comply with
       Specification for
S.M.N.A. CLASS " D "   CAT. NO. --blank--

Small tag,  Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
     CLASSIFICATION D    NO. 450939

  Thanks,  Joe

Hi Joe,

The info you provided is NOT manufacturers info, it is testing agency info.

UL and SMNA were both "STANDARDS" testing agencies, and have nothing to do with the actual manufacturing of the equipment.

SMNA tested safes from the mid 1920's until the early 1960's.    UL began testing safes around 1914 and still test safes.

The specification F-2-ND only indicates that it is an insulated filing device.
The classification "D" indicates the rating.   In this case it was rated for 1 hour of fire resistance.

The UL classification "D" is basically the same rating - 1 hour of fire resistance.

As the unit is over 50 years old, it does not meet any current standards.

None of this info has to do with the actual manufacturer and/or the construction or materials used.    Also, don't try to compare the container with one of the other units that I may have answered questions about as you can have two different safe makers, with the SAME standards testing and ratings, but made out of different materials.

In your case, you are interested in whether or not the container has asbestos.    If there are no manufacturers labels, then the only way to determine what is in the material would be to have it tested.
If you don't have a local HAZMAT testing facility (check with your local fire department), then you can order an asbestos test kit by going to:

hope this helps

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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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