Locksmithing/Cramer Safe


I have the opportunity to buy a very large double door Green in color steel safe. It is near or at 5ft in height and 4 ft in width and 4 ft deep. It has been stored in an old church that has been sold and the owner wants it gone. I can get it for 200.00 They do not have the combination.It has the Underwriters Laboratories inc stamp, reading tool resisting safe T 20 burglary. Cramer Safe And Office Equipment KC,MO is stamped as well as HMM. The serial number is 248332. So, my questions are is this worthwhile, can I make it workable and what exactly do I have here, good quality safe or not. It looks to be in very good condition.
Thank you very much for your time Sir.

Bryan Johnson


Based on your description, it sounds like you actually have a Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Company Safe - which was SOLD by Cramer Safe & Office Equipment Company.

The safe is basically a fire resistive safe - only.   The "T-20" burglary rating is basically TAMPER resistant, NOT burglary resistant.

HHM was acquired by the Diebold Safe Company in 1959 and subsquently closed down in the early 1960's.   Safes over 50 years old generally do not meet any current standards for fire and/or burglary resistance.  

First question - you mentioned "they don't have the combination" - is the safe open or locked closed?
If the safe is locked closed then it basically has a negative value - the cost of the safe ($200) and the cost to have it opened and repaired ($350-$500).

Once the safe is opened, we can take a look at it, to evaluate its value.  If you are not interested in buying it to resell, then cost shouldn't matter.   Whether YOU want the safe or not is the question.  

As it is over 50 years old, it is a collectible, however its actual value will be determined by what type of safe, its age, and its overall condition.

Because it does not meet current standards, hopefully you are not buying it to use for important document storage, or to keep cash, jewelery or other irreplaceable valuables in.   But the container still has a lot of other uses.

As for your questions concerning its quality and/or being worthwhile - regardless of MY answer, you have to make that determination based on what YOU plan on doing with the safe.   Heck, I have 14 safes, and over half of them are old or antique, and do not meet any current standards.   I have obtained each of them for various reasons, but I also realize each ones short comings and I DO NOT store items in them that I'm not willing to lose based on fire or burglary.  As this is your first safe, you are just getting started collecting - you may find better safes later on, and this one may get sold, or it may be one that you keep and pass on to your grandkids.

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 10mb 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.

Please send all of the requested photos to:  andy@securitysafeusa.com

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.

Hope this helps.


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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 40 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of two Tilton & McFarland safes from the 1860'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.


40 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. 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. 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

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 - 2014 - Listed in AllExperts Top 50 Experts. All Expert 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 and Western Nevada)

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