You are here:

Locksmithing/The Halls Safe company

Advertisement


Question
Hi, First let me thank you for the answers already posted.
My parents have a filing cabinet with the following information:
The Hall's Safe Company, Fire Insulated Cabinet, F2ND, Registration Y81178, S.M.N.A. Class D. I know my father purchased the safe in the 50's.

From your previous posts I know what F2ND, Y and Class D mean.

The filing cabinet is wide enough for legal 14" documents, it has three drawers, all drawers slide easily, the lock works (mickey mouse though it is), which is a simple key/push office cabinet lock.

I would class the cabinet as in excellent condition, sporting a few small scratches.

I do have 2 questions, Who actually manufactured the cabinet? I find some confusion with HHM, and the Hall's Safe Company, which seemed to stop making products in 1925, and the name on the safe, and a safe maker of the same name in California. Can you help?

My mother is moving and needs to dispose of the cabinet, can you provide any quick guidance as to an asking price to sell? We do not want an actual valuation, just a quick guide.

Really appreciate you assistance.

Peter

Answer
Peter,

The Hall's Safe Company was not around when this cabinet was made, however there are a lot of "copy cat" companies that will use the name of a business that is well known, capitalizing on the idea that the majority of consumers will have no idea that they are NOT one and the same.
I'm still doing research on WHEN Hall's Safe Company actually went out of business, however it would have been between the beginning of the Great Depression (1929) and the beginning of WWII (about 1942-44).   I'm not sure where you came up with the 1925 date???

I'm not sure what your confusion is between Hall's Safe Company and Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Company (HHM)???   They were two different companies.    While the Hall brothers were part of the merger in 1892 (after their father's death in 1889), they left HHM in 1896 after fulfilling contractual obligations, and with a "falling out" with the board of directors over the location of the new factory in Hamilton, OH.   The Hall's Safe & Lock Company facility had always been in Cincinnati, and they did NOT want to leave town.    After leaving HHM, the Hall brothers began a new company under the name "Halls Safe Company", with a factory in Cincinnati.   HHM immediately sued them over the use of the name "Hall's".   It took around 10 years with several restarts to finally get the case all the way to the Supreme Court, because HHM had suffered several bankruptcies or reorganizations.   The bankruptcy gremlin would ultimately be the downfall of the largest safe company in the world, when in 1959, HHM was acquired out of bankruptcy by Diebold.   Due to anti-trust lawsuits against Diebold, they were forced to close down both the York Safe & Lock plant and the Herring-Hall-Marvin factory between 1962-64.

As the container has the Safe Manufacturers National Association (SMNA) label on it, we know that the container had to have been made between the mid 1920's (about 1925) through the early 1960's (1964 is the latest date I've been able to find).   Most of the filing cabinets having labels on them were from the 1950's or early 60's, which again is AFTER "Hall's Safe Company" would have been out of business.   Also, Hall's Safe Company was in Cincinnati, NOT California.

Obviously without seeing the cabinet, I can't ID it, and even with photos, I might not - I specialize in safes - not filing cabinets!

As far as disposing of and/or selling the container.   1.  containers over 50 years old (which would include this one) DO NOT meet any current standards for fire resistance, due to age and condition of the insulation material.   2.  None of these companies that I've discussed were known to have ever used asbestos as an insulation media.
as for value - it has none other than as a storage container.   It doesn't meet any current standards for fire resistance, and so cannot be sold as a fire resistive container.   It has no burglary resistance, it has no commercial or retail value, and should NOT be used for overnight storage of cash, jewelry and/or valuable documents.   It is NOT an antique, and has no collectible value - it is basically old office equipment.

While it has no value under ANY of the above categories, there is no reason that it can't be used as a general purpose storage container of documents which can be easily replaced.   If I was going to place a "fair asking price" on it, it would be between paying someone to take it, and $100 - give or take a few dollars.

As far as your assessment of it being in "excellent condition", that is a "sellers" assessment, and not an unbiased opinion.    An appraiser and/or a buyer might come to a totally different views of its actual condition.   

Hope you understand, I'm not trying to knock your container, as I happen to have a couple similar containers in my garage that I'm using at this time, and they are equally as old as yours.   However I'm under no illusion as to what I have and/or what they can be used for.  Value wise, mine are in no better standing than yours, and I know that mine work exceedingly good - maintenance wise.

Sorry, wish the news was better.  

Locksmithing

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


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)

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.