You are here:

Antique Safes/John Tann 6X Fortress Key Replacements

Advertisement


Question
Subject:   John Tann 6X Fortress Safe for Businss
Question:   Hello:

I have a vintage made in the 1980's John Tann 6X Fortress Safe made in Sweden in the 1980'S which we recently purchased used here in Miami, Florida for our Jewelry Business and Pawn Shop... It only came with one key and there seems to be no one in the United States currently who is cutting new keys (believe it or not) for these very common and finely made, high quality older safes... It is such a shame that a craft or skill like this and fine watch makers seems to be dying with the younger generation that does not what to take up these old line crafts or skills... Do you know anyone or can you help me find someone here in the United States who can cut new keys (using the one key ~ that I do have) for these great old safes... To my knowledge none of the new safes that are being made today are near as good quality as the vintage old ones... So it surprises me that no one is filling a nitch today of making hand cut keys for these important older safes?  

I noticed in one of your previous articles that you had a safe expert based in London, England who just may be the best person to help me with this question, thank...

David
Parko Jewelry & Pawn
1701 W. Flagler Street
Suite # 11
Miami, Florida 33135

Answer
Hi David,

While these safes may in fact be quality safes, the fact is they were made in England, which means the locks were also made - in England.
Also your safe may be old, but it isn't "vintage" - which applies to the harvest of or bottling of grapes or wine.

The reason that it is so difficult to get keys cut here in the US, is two-fold, they are very expensive and the market simply doesn't support the service.     We might go 10-12 years between being asked to get (or have made) one single key.
Having the keys made isn't the problem as much as the cost to have one made.   

If you want YOUR key duplicated - there is only one place here in the US that can duplicate or make keys for most of these safes.   They only have listings for 2 types of Tann keys and three different stems though.    They don't work directly for you, you will still have to go through a local safe company.

Problem:   The only way they will make the keys is for the lock and a working key to be sent to them.    This way they can guarantee that it will work.
This also assumes that you have a lock that they have a key blank for.


While both of my friends in Europe are experts in European and English safes, they are both retired, and one now lives in the south of Spain.    Contacting them may get you some different questions or answers, but bottom line - if you want a key made - the lock AND a working key will have to be sent in.     Sending to Europe, you may also incur import / customs problems.
You can check with both Tom Gordon and Mike Palmer - both on this same site, to ask them if they have any recommendations for you, but I'm pretty sure the answer is going to be the same.

My recommendation - if you haven't already tried them, would be to contact one of the following companies - in your area:

Worldwide Safe & Vault
3660 NW 115th Ave.,
Doral, Fl  33178
305-477-9266

Harwoods - Miami Safe Co.,
7350 SW 45th St.,
Miami, Fl   33155
305-262-6762

I wish the news was better, but hopefully this gives you some places to start.

Antique Safes

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

Organizations
Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.