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Antique Safes/Info on R-3691, B614374

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Question
File Cabinet
File Cabinet  
QUESTION: Is there a way to use the number on this label to find out more information about this file cabinet, especially date of manufacture?  I've attempted to query the UL website/database in various ways, but come up with nothing for B614374.  I did find a record for R3691, but it contained no dates.

I want to make sure this file cabinet is still trustworthy for file protection.

Thanks!

ANSWER: Hi Charles,

Sorry but UL has nothing to do with safes or safe manufacturers other than to indicate the "STANDARD" to which it was built.   So trying to check with UL is barking up the wrong tree.

In order to answer your question, I would need to see the container to try to narrow down a maker and/or when it might have been made.

In general fire resistive containers OVER 50 years old DO NOT meet any current standards and should NOT be used for anything other than general purpose storage.

I will need to see better photos of the container.

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Another safety label on cabinet
Another safety label o  
Fireproof Cabinet Picture
Fireproof Cabinet Pict  
QUESTION: Terry,

Thanks, I appreciate the explanation and information.  Attached is a pic of the cabinet, as well as one of another label.  If you could help identify it, especially its approximate time of manufacture, it would be highly appreciated.

Charles

ANSWER: Hi Charles,

This looks like a newer unit - possibly 20 years old, so it should be okay.   interesting to note that the manufacturer indicates that their container is good for up to 1-1/2 hours and yet UL only recognizes it for 1 hour.    Though UL ONLY has 2 ratings for filing cabinets - a 1/2 hour and a 1 hour rating.

I think this cabinet should be fine for your document protection.

Again, these are ONLY rated for protection from HEAT, and it will ONLY keep the heat below 350 degrees F.    Items like cash, jewelry or valuable documents should not be kept in this container, and items like film, data media like computer disc's etc. melt at about 200 degrees so they would need additional protection.

Hope this helps,


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QUESTION: Thanks so much.  Why is the unit suitable only for general documents and not valuable documents?  Do the documents sustain minor damage even though they are not destroyed?

Thanks,

Charles

Answer
Hi Charles,

Great question.

Safes and security containers are designed with ONE of two things in mind - FIRE (or heat protection) and BURGLARY protection.

Fire resistive containers are designed to keep HEAT out of the container to protect documents.   They are tested at varying temperatures to ensure that the INTERIOR of the container does NOT exceed 350 degrees F.    Paper chars at 412 degrees and it combusts at 451 degrees F.     So as long as the interior remains BELOW 350 your documents are protected.

Burglary resistive containers are designed to keep PEOPLE (unauthorized) out of the safe.   Protection is based on the level that is desired.   For instance they are rated as "Non-Rated containers", TL-15 burglary, TL-30 burglary and higher ratings.   The higher the burglary resistive rating, the higher the dollar value that you can safely store inside the safe.

Composite body safes generally have BOTH fire and burglary resistance built into them.

Fire resistive file cabinets are ONLY rated for fire resistance.   Generally UL only rates them for either 1/2 hour of resistance or 1 hour of resistance.

Fire resistive cabinets are NOT rated, tested or recommended for keeping ANY cash, jewelry or valuable documents in.


UL also only maintains that their ratings for fire and burglary are ONLY good for a maximum of 10 years unless the manufacturer resubmits used units for testing and then they may or may not extend the listing.    Manufacturers NEVER resubmit used containers for testing.

We as an independent company recognize that most of these units - like yours - don't sustain much damage from use or abuse over the years, and in most cases will meet the minimum standards for years to come, however we still have a line in the sand that we use - this is 50 years.   By the time most containers reach this age, they have had plenty of use and abuse.   Parts are most likely no longer available and the containers are in sad shape.    There is no way to thoroughly inspect the insulation of the containers to ensure that they will perform as designed, so they are considered to be "end of life" by that time.

As far as valuable documents - if you have something that YOU don't want stolen - as in valuable - then it should NOT be in a general purpose, fire resistive container.

These containers also are NOT water resistive, so in a fire, if you have sprinklers or the fire department shows up you MAY wind up with some water damage.

Hope this explains it better.

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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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