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Locksmithing/Need advice on Identifying and moving a large mosler safe


QUESTION: I came across a very good deal on a vintage Mosler safe. I happen to have a cousin that owns a professional moving company, but I could use some help with the details of what the safe is, what it weighs and what the best way to move it is. My guess is to just remove the doors, but do they just lift off? Is it a 1 hour....2 hour...or more? What would you say the doors weigh each?


Sorry, but the first thing I have to address is the use of the word "vintage" which applies to the year of a grape harvest or wine bottling.   what you have is simply an older safe.   It is not collectible, nor is it antique.

As far as identifying the safe - it is a Mosler Safe, which you have already correctly identified.   This safe is a fire resistive safe for document storage.   As far as its classification (fire resistance), it should have a label (probably on the back of the active door) from UL, SMNA or the manufacturer.   If the safe does not have, or is missing the label, then it is considered to NOT be a rated safe, even though it might be built to standard.

Note:   Depending on the age of the safe, it may not meet any current standards for fire resistance.

As far as the weight of the safe, it is probably in the 2500 to 3000 lb range.   The higher the fire resistance rating the more the safe would weigh.   For instance a Class C / 1 hour safe might only weigh around 2200-2500 lbs, while the same size safe but with a Class A / 4 hour rating, might weight 3000 to 3250 lbs.

With the doors open to at least 90 degrees, you should be able to lift the doors off the hinges to lower the weight of the safe.   Each door probably weighs in the 500-600 lb range, so without special equipment, you may not be able to remove the safe doors.

what other questions do you have?

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

QUESTION: I know the safe isnt collectable or anything like that, I wanted an old mosler because of what I have read about their quality, and from what several locksmiths I have worked with have told me about them. I am buying it from the original owner, who purchased it new in 1961, since I am primarily a car guy that would make it vintage, but I realize now in the safe world its just old.

There is a tag on the inside that identifies it as a safe class A, underwriters labratories R-1642 No.A19313. There is also another tag that says SMNA class A spec F1-D.

What concerns me is how to move this monster. It is on wheels, and is in a garage that you can back a truck up to. It is also going to a garage that is the same way. As I said I have a cousin with a moving company, but they usually do not move safes, they are doing me a favor. They suggested removing the doors, and moving it like that. I just want to make sure thats the best way to move it, and that it wont cause any damage, but also want to be able to give them information so they know what they are getting into. I have seen other sites estimate similiar safes to be 1,500 lbs, and I think thats way off, I would tend to believe the numbers you gave me more. I have noticed from your posts that you are extremely knowledgeable, and I felt you would be a much more reliable source of info for this.


Generally we don, t remove the doors unless we have to use an elevator and the weight of the safe will exceed 3/4 of the rated capacity.    If we were moving garage to garage,  we would simply use one of our box trucks, with a lift gate.   Roll the safe out of the garage onto the lift and into the truck.    Reverse at the second location.

Because of the steel wheels and clearances, we use steel plates to ramp over bumps, thresholds and onto the lift..

If they don't have a lift capable of up to 5000 lbs, then you may want to rethink having them move the safe.    Nothing can get someone hurt quicker than trying to move a heavy safe which they don't have the capacity, or correct equipment for.

Most moving companies are not equipped for heavy safes and can get themselves in trouble fairly quickly.   Do not underestimate the weight of this safe.   At a minimum it is at least 2500 lbs,  and may be closer to 3000 lbs.

Good luck.  


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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


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.


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".

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

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

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

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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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