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Locksmithing/GRAND DAD'S YALE FLOOR SAFE

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Question
Hello, I have a small Yale floor safe that is on wheels and I know my Grandfather was the original owner and it sat in my Dad's cotton gin office as far back as I can remember (1959#.  My Dad had a nut in one of the bolt holes to prevent it being locked as he did not know the combination.  When I inherited the safe in 1993, I took the little peek plate off the inside of the door and figured out the combination and it functions perfectly and I use it all the time.  I have no problems with it I would just like to know more about it if you can tell me.  I keep my Grandfather's Single Action Army Colt 45 revolver in it and I know everything about it from Colt.  Just curious and would like to know about my safe.
serial number 1y59433
model number W 4995 #stamped on dial)
SMNA rating 1hr
exp cat 2X
spec FD-1

Good luck and thanks
Daniel

Answer
Daniel,

While there were a couple safe companies that went under the "YALE" name, the majority of safes with "YALE" on the dial were NOT Yale safes.    A lot of manufacturers simply used locks manufactured by Yale on their safes.    So for beginners, we will need to ID "WHAT" you actually have.

As for the other information you have provided, most of it has nothing to do with the safe.

The SMNA label (Safe Manufacturers National Association) was simply a testing agency or standards agency.   Their purpose was to ensure that safes which were built by different manufacturers for a particular standard - ALL met the same standard.    This is similar to the work that UL currently does for safes and other items.

The serial number you have provided "1y59433" is the serial number for the LABEL and NOT the safe.    The "model" number you provided "W 4995", which is stamped on the ball of the handle, is probably the actual serial number for the safe.
The "Specification FD-1" indicates that this is a "Fire Resistive Safe", only and NOT a burglary resistive safe.   The label probably also lists a fire "Classification C" which would be the 1 hour rating you mentioned.

While UL began testing safes in 1914, SMNA didn't begin until the mid 1920's and only continued until the early 1960's.    This gives us some dates to look at as possible manufacturing dates of your safe.

I will be more than happy to look at your safe to see what I can tell you about it.   

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.   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:  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.  

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 42 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. 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 Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes".

Organizations
SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA)

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 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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