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Antique Safes/Combination safe dial age


dial front
dial front  

dial inscribed numbers
dial inscribed numbers  
Hello Andy, I have a part of a dial that was dug at a historically important house site. It was reported that Union soldiers ransacked the local homes here and took what they wanted. The family who lived here had a safe listed in their inventory after the owners died, part of their estate. It looks like this one was chopped at in order to get into it, and looks quite old. Problem is I do not know if it is of that time period of 1860s. There are some numbers stamped on it, it is brass and crudely stamped. Any chance of verifying what the maker was and a time period, even if it is a broad range? Could it have been from Civil War era? Thanks for your expertise, J.MOORE

C 60 series dial
C 60 series dial  
Hello Jeff,

This isn't the "DIAL", it is the dial ring.   The numbers appear to be "casting numbers".   As we don't generally keep track of peripheral items like the dial rings, I can't tell you what the numbers were actually for.

The dial ring does appear to be from the Sargent & Greenleaf Lock Company, Rochester, NY (now in Nicholasville, KY).    This was not a safe company and they made locks for a LOT of different companies.    The dial ring appears to be from the C60 series of locks which had patent dates of:

Sep. 18, 1860
Jan. 9, 1866
Aug. 28, 1866
July 14, 1866
Ex. 7 years, July 14 1871

This lock was formerly S&G's No. 5 Lock, though I don't know if the dial ring had the "star" at the dialing index or not.

Using the patent dates that are normally on the C60 series dials, the lock wouldn't have been made until AFTER the July 1871 date.    If the No. 5 lock/dial ring had the star on it, then it would have been made during one of the previous patent dates.

As this firm was not organized and located in Rochester until 1865, any locks made by this firm probably would NOT have been released to manufacturers until late 1865 or 1866, and it stands to reason that the safes would not have been built, shipped or in the hands of customers until late 1866.
Prior to organizing as Sargent & Greenleaf, locks were built by the James Sargent Lock Company.   James had begun inventing and building safe locks as early as 1857, but again I can't answer the question concerning the "Star" on the dial ring, or when they began using it.

I would recommend that you may want to check with the "Harry C. Miller Lock Collection & Museum"
to see if they can shed any further light on the No. 5 lock/dial ring.    Harry Miller was very instrumental in S&G as an owner, inventor and patent holder.   He moved S&G from Rochester to Nicholasville.   If there are any examples of the No. 5 lock/dial ring, this is where I would begin looking for it.

At this point though, based on the information available (photos provided), I would believe that the dial is from a C-60 series lock produced from around 1870 through the end of the 19th century.   As far as a safe manufacturer that may have used it - sorry, but there were literally hundreds of companies that may have used this lock.

Sorry I can't be of more assistance at this time.   Unless they couldn't get the safe open, I would assume that the body of the safe may still be buried somewhere on the property.

Good luck with your search.

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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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