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Antique Safes/Is this a safe???



We moved into a house that was built in 1907. The neighbors asked us if "that safe was still in the basement". Apparently the man that lived here said it was too heavy and was never going to leave this house. Eventually his wife divorced him and threw all his belongings outside. It would make sense that the safe was still here if his belongings were all left outside for him. We found this square EXTREMELY heavy block that we think might be the safe? Appears as if someone has already tried breaking into unsuccessfully. (Maybe the ex wife was trying to get what the husband had in there? Or maybe he was the one trying to break into it in the first place). The neighbor said that he helped the guy get the safe into the house when he got it. They lived here 30 years.
So now we've been working on it too. I'm not sure how many images I can attach on here, so I'll describe it the best I can... It seems to be possibly concrete or something like it that is encased by metal. There are round things on the front that appear to be the combination dial or something? The second to smallest circle spins left and right. We have been chipping away at the concrete and IF it is a safe, it's in the shape of a bell kind of; like a cylinder that kind of balloons out towards the innermost part of the cement block it's encased by. There is a symbol on it that is a rounded triangle with like 3 or 4 smaller triangles inside it. Otherwise, no markings at all on the outside.

Hi Sarah,

Well, yes it was a safe, at some point!    Most of the necessary parts to make it functional like the hinges, handles, dials, etc. all appear to be missing.

I don't know what the symbols might be, off the top of my head.    Manufacturers many times had manufacturing symbols to help them keep items straight and/or reference what safe they were made for.   Unfortunately most of these items don't mean anything to anyone else, and as many of the factories have gone out of business, there are no records which might help us figure out what they were for and/or to.

It's a great story, and looks like you guys (gals) are having a great treasure hunt.    Not to pour cold water on the idea, however - in general - people do not abandon safes with stuff inside!    With possibly the exception being a death in the family, we simply don't find safes, abandoned with valuables inside.    As this doesn't sound like that scenario, I'm doubtful that you will find anything, so don't be disappointed - but at a minimum you WILL have a great story to tell.   How many people find abandoned safes inside their houses?????

Good luck with it, and be careful, the tools necessary to try to break in can be dangerous.   Please use appropriate safety equipment including eye and ear protection, and safety gloves!  

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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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