You are here:

Antique Safes/Halls safe company vault door lockset identification and age of door

Advertisement


Question
Hall Lockset
Hall Lockset  
QUESTION: Terry,
I recently purchased a Vault door manufactured by "The Halls Safe Company" out of a building in Twin Falls Idaho.  Believed to be manufactured around 1912, but would like to confirm that.  Serial number of door- 54728. Door contains no welds, only rivets.   Purchased without the combo lock set, I would like to replace it with a period piece.  Do you know the make, model, and any other information about the lockset?  You'll notice in the picture that I put the bezel of the dial on top of the lockset housing for reference.  By the profile of it, it looks like an S&G.  I have other photos of the door that can be emailed.  Thank you

ps... I also, purchased a Harring Hall and Marvin vault door this past month (+-1925) and would like to gain some information on it as well.  Let me know if you'd be interested in an email conversation about both these doors as well as two others I have.

ANSWER: Hi Ray,

Hall's Safe Company made many of their own locks.   If they did have a lock "model" number it wasn't passed along.   When they went out of business in the late 1920's all of their records disappeared as well.   In general most of their locks - like this one - were basically the same design, just different sizes.    The lock, dial & dial ring on this door would NOT have been made by or even like an S&G.

The lock is a type we term a "straight tail piece" lock.   It would have had a front mounted driver with one real gate and 9 false gates.   The drive wheel would have also had 13 drive pin locations, used to aid in combination changes.   Depending on the tail piece design, the drive wheel may or may not have been designed to trap the tail piece, locking the bolt work in the retracted position.

This lock most likely would have had 3 to 4 combination wheels, mounted on a wheel post.   This entire "curb" assembly could easily be removed by taking out two screws which held it in place.

The wheel pack would have consisted of the back plate / wheel post, which would have had a stationary key installed.  3 to 4 spacer rings, held in place by the key and 3-4 combination wheels, which each had about 13 positions for their drive pins.

Halls made these locks in numerous sizes from fairly small to massively large ones.   While the components are all basically the same, the size of the wheels would be commensurate to the size of the lock - everything proportionally built.

As far as finding a replacement - good luck with that one!   probably the only locks available are going to either already be attached to another safe or vault door - or they are going to be in someone's collection.

Your best bet is going to be to either make or have a machinist make all of the pieces to the lock.   With the exception of the dial and spindle, all of the pieces can be made by a home machinist.   The dial and spindle would need a bit more workmanship.    Unfortunately schematics or drawings are also not readily available.    Having someone draw the correct items to the correct sizes for your lock is probably more feasible than finding a replacement lock the same size as yours, however I doubt someone is going to spend the time to draw it out for you for free.

I'm not sure what "conversations" you are looking to have about your doors.   While I'm more than happy to answer fairly specific questions as time permits, I currently don't have the amount of free time I need for my own projects.

If you have specific questions, feel free to email me directly and please send photos of the items in question, so that I can address my answers to that item.

You can email me at:   andy@securitysafeusa.com

Hope this helps,






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

Hall Vault door
Hall Vault door  
QUESTION: Andy,

Understanding that most of the records from this manufacture are lost; are you aware of another source that may know the age of the door?  

While I'd rather install a lockset that is a period piece; I don't have the time to do so.  After doing some research, I found a modern S&G 6530-001 lockset that looks like it would work with a little manipulation.  Some trimming, a spacer, and/or a plate to retrofit the new bolt pattern seems like it would make it work.  The new unit number is a direct drive, roller which seems like it would fit the bill.  Do you have any input into whether or not that new lockset would work?  Tough question, but anything would help at this point.  

Thank you, Ray

Answer
Hi Ray,

Your estimate of 1912 is probably pretty close.  I was in the 1905-1910 time frame, but at any rate it is early 1900's and it is over 100 years old.

As far as installing a new lock to get it operational.    In order to use the existing bolt work, I would recommend a lock with a rotary bolt design so that a modified straight tailpiece would still work, this will cut your modifications down tremendously.

You may need a new mounting plate or foot print for the new lock, and a slightly modified tail piece but other than that you could use the current spindle hole.   

You are on the right track, and if you don't have to modify much, you can always revert back to the original if you find or make the missing pieces to your lock.  

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.