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Detroit safe
Detroit safe  
QUESTION: I have a Detroit Safe that is approx 18"x24"x20"deep.  The safe was in the basement when we bought the house 8 years ago.  It is locked and we don't have the combination. I'm wondering how much it should weigh empty and whether it is worthwhile to have a locksmith open it and provide us with a combination.  We have never used it but it looks in good condition and might be worthwhile saving.  Here is a picture.  Can you tell when it was made?

ANSWER: Hi Bill,

While the safe may have been sold by Detroit Safe Company at some point, it actually appears to be from the Syracuse Safe Company.
It was (and is) a pretty common practice to re-label the safes with the selling companies info, for advertising reasons.    If you like the safe and/or someone else liked it and wanted one, you would have the info for the selling company.

As far as the question "is it worthwhile saving?"   sorry but you are asking the wrong guy!    I find value in almost all safes.    Obviously I can't evaluate this safe until it is opened and we can verify the safe maker and its overall condition, but I think it will be worth your time.

As for using a locksmith to open the safe - up to you, but generally NEVER recommend using locksmiths for safe work.    Lack of training, knowledge and tools can cause excessive damage which is a NO-NO, on antiques where parts are not easily replaceable if they are available at all.

Similarly as far as age, that's all part of the identification process.

My recommendation check your local yellow pages under "safes & vaults" for nearby companies.   If you don't have any let me know where you are located (zip code) and I'll see who I know and/or might recommend in your area.

Hope this helps.

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

QUESTION: I am in Kalamazoo,  Michigan.  Do you know of someone in this area?

Answer
Hi Bill,

The nearest company that I would recommend would possibly be:

Hoogerhyde safe & lock     about 45 miles away
616-458-6365
1033 LEONARD NW
GRAND RAPIDS, MI.   49504

or

Mark's Lock Shop          about 60 miles away
517 482 5809          Mark Blum
2107 South Cedar
Lansing, MI  48910

I have some better shops and safe techs but they are going to be double to triple the distance.   While the distance isn't an issue to me, as I drive 400-500 miles many days each week, to others it seems an excessive amount.

Either of these shops should be able to handle your safe, and if you can take it to them, you will save additionally.

Call them and discuss their fees and options.   If you have questions feel free to run it by me first before having the work done.

Hope this helps,

Antique Safes

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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

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