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Antique Safes/Barnes Safe and Lock


Hello! My husband's great-great grandfather was Thomas Barnes from the Barnes Safe and Lock Company. I am trying to find the patent number from his safes so I can order the prints and have them framed. Could you tell me how I go about finding the patent number. Thank you for your time.

Hi Kathryn,

Very Cool!    If you have any historical info about Thomas Barnes I would LOVE to see it.

In 1874 Milton A. Dalton, working behind the scenes for Jacob Hall (Hall's Safe & Lock Company, Cincinnati, OH) Went around the country and parts of Europe talking to many of the best safe makers.
Supposedly the "goal" was to provide a reference book to Bankers and similar groups, with pertinent information concerning safes & vaults.    This was however, more industrial espionage than it was preparation for the book.   Only a very small handful of these books were ever printed and/or are still known to exist.    The book - History of fire & burglar proof safes, bank locks & vaults in America & Europe, Milton A. Dalton, 1874, was filled with affidavits acquired from these safe experts on the state of their business and on safes in general.   There is an affidavit by Thomas Barnes in the book.   It basically states:

Affidavit of Thomas Barnes, February 1st, 1873:
  My name is Thomas Barnes; I am past 50 years of age, am a practical safe maker by trade, being both a finisher and a blacksmith.   I began in this city, with J. Scott in the fall of the year 1836, and continued working for him three years; then worked round town for four years.   I began working for Constable & Burke, and worked for them two years, until October, 1845, when I went into partnership with E. Burke, and continued therein until October, 1872, when I began for myself; and have continued thus to date.

The Barnes Safe Company lasted until around the early 1920's, though I'm not sure when Thomas Barnes died and/or who ran the company up until the end.    May be you can fill in some of the blanks.

I don't show any Patents which were issued in Thomas Barnes name for the period of 1848 until 1868.    Patent research is not one of the areas that I spend much time, so just because I don't have any listing for him, doesn't mean that he didn't have any patents.    None of the safes I've seen and none of the advertisements I've seen even hinted at his having any Patents.   The majority of the "patent dates" you will see on a Barnes safe are going to be on the dial and apply to the LOCK only, which was NOT made by Barnes.

Of interest is a Barnes safe on display at the Barnes & Nobel Book Store at the Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA.   It was discovered hidden in a wall, during a renovation and is now on display.

Sorry I don't have more info for you.  

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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

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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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