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Antique Safes/Two more photos for Ibberson safe


QUESTION: Our company, founded in 1881, has a safe in the lobby, and I am wondering what you might be able to tell me about it in regard to age, construction, etc. I have a third photo which I will upload separately.

ANSWER: Hi Mary,

Okay, we will start with the "basics" to eliminate any confusions and work from there.

1.  The "T. E. Ibberson" name on the safe, would have been an owner at some point.  If the safe has more or less been in the same region or area, you might do some local research to see if you can Identify who this person might have been, and then see if you can make an association between him and the safe (documentation and/or photos).

2.  The "DeRight Safe & Lock Company" was a sales agent and/or sold this safe, possibly to Mr. Ibberson.    Again, doing some local research on this company might provide clues to the owner.  At a minimum, you WILL begin to obtain dates that this company could have sold the safe and/or dates when Mr. Ibberson may have owned/purchased the safe.

Unfortunately I have no information concerning either of these subjects.

Okay, now that we have eliminated these two names from the safe, the big question is who actually made the safe???    While I will need much better photos to conclude an identification and/or to try to narrow down any dates of manufacturer or periods when it may have been made, I can tell you that I'm only looking at one manufacturer at this point, that being the Schwab Safe Company,

The Schwab Safe Company was begun in 1872 by Leo Schwab.   It continue until it was acquired by the Sentry Group in 2008.

In order to answer specific questions, identify, evaluate or appraise your safe, I'm going to need photos.  They should include full exterior and interior.  Detail photos should include pictures of the dial, handles, hinges, artwork, locks, bolt work, castors, cabinetry and any special details or damage.  Note:  You may have to remove the back panel on the door to gain access to the lock & bolt work – I will need these pics.
If you have a particular detail that you have a question about, I will need a photo of it along with your question.

I will also need to see any documentation that you have in regards to your safe.  If your safe has a unique historical perspective, you should be able to document this with letters, newspaper articles or photos, if not it is simply a story and will have no bearing on the value of your safe.

Please use as high a resolution as possible so that I can examine details of your safe.  Pictures which are low resolution, out of focus, or from a distance don’t help when we try to evaluate the container.  Note:  with higher resolution, you may only be able to send 2-4 pictures per email, depending on the size of the file, I have a 12mb limit per email.  If photos are larger than 2mb each, you may only be able to send 2 or 3 photos per email, requiring several emails.

Please don’t send me “cell phone” photos, unless they are very clear and of sufficient resolution.   Also, please don’t use online, internet photo drops as most of these also don’t allow me to easily access the photos for examination.   Send the pics directly to me, while this may be more work for you, it will make my job easier.

Please send all of the requested photos to:

Note:  As I am in the field several days each week, covering a huge service area, I may not get back to your photos immediately, but I will respond as soon as I get an opportunity.  Due to field work, emails may tend to get backed up which means I may not answer them immediately.

Our informal evaluation is at no charge, however if you feel you need a formal evaluation or appraisal for insurance, estate sales, donations for tax write offs, or to establish it as an antique, there is an administrative fee for this service.

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lock parts
lock parts  

behind the dial
behind the dial  
QUESTION: Here are two additional photos of the locking mechanism with the door off the Ibberson safe.  Does this help you to provide any identifying information? I talked with our old president and he recalls his father saying the safe was originally at the Corn Exchange Building in downtown Minneapolis where the company officed in 1906 (his father started working at Ibberson in 1915). Later, the company moved to the Grain Exchange Building, then in the 1950s to St. Louis Park. The safe has been in our current location in Hopkins since 1992.

Hi Mary,

Yes these were the additional photos that I needed to "somewhat narrow down an age.

The lock in use on the safe is a Yale OB series lock.   This was Schwab's standard lock after they transitioned from their "straight tailpiece" design.    This lock was in use from around 1910-12 until the late 1920's (1925-30ish).    There was a brief transition phase where they still used the bolt work similar to the straight tailpiece, modified to work with the OB series gravity lever type lock.

Based on the photos that you have provided your safe would most likely have been made between 1915-1925.   Sorry I can't narrow it down much more than that, but it does somewhat match your old president's memories of his father's recollections.

As far as your reference to the "Corn Exchange Building", I'm not going to be familiar with either it or the relationship to "T. E. Ibberson" unless they were also in this building.    Safe companies generally put the name of the original owner of the safe, on the safe at the time of purchase.   While I have seen safes which were resold and relabeled with the name of the new owner, this was not nearly as common.

The other item that I indicated you should investigate would be the "DeRight Safe & Lock Company" to see if you can find out what dates that this company was in business.   While this may help to narrow down a possible date of purchase, it just as well may not.

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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