Locksmithing/Mosler Safe

Advertisement


Question
Front Door
Front Door  

inside of door
inside of door  
A buddy 9 mine was given a Mosler Safe. We have the combo and a few numbers on the outside and back.  We are trying to find a model # for value reasons and we would like to try and find a history on this unit. It has a crow bar mark on the outside where it looks like someone tried to break in it. It also has a Badger Tear Gas pack on the inside still intact.

Answer
Hi Mike,

I would need MUCH better photos to try to answer your questions, though based on the photos you have provided, this container is most likely just an office safe, used to protect documents from fire or heat.   A class "B" container was considered to provide 2 hours of fire resistance - NOT fire proof!    Also, please not that this safe is NOT a burglary resistive safe.

based on the serial number on the Mosler Label, the container would have been built around the late 1958's, which does correspond with the Badger label being installed apparently around Jan 1959.

Safes over 50 years old, ESPECIALLY fire resistive safes, do not meet ANY current standards for fire or burglary resistance.    Generally as this type of container would be considered "office equipment", it isn't collectible, and as it is not over 100 years old it isn't an antique.


More important - safety concern.    While the label would indicate that the container contains a tear gas protective device - the label does not mean that it is there, however I would assume that it is.
1.   This type of tear gas has been illegal to own since the 1980's, and at a minimum in most states is considered a misdemeanor, though in some states it may be a Felony.    Having the device attached to the safe is considered "BOOBY-TRAPPING", which IS considered a Felony in all states.

Recommendations for dealing with the Badger device.

1.   DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE DEVICE YOURSELF.   If the device is activated or the vials break, it could cause serious injury and possible death to anyone in the vicinity.   Individuals with any type of respiratory problems are extremely susceptible.    Activating the device in a closed area like an office space or home would contaminate the area for up to several weeks.    DIY projects like this are not recommended.

2.  Having the police, fire department or local HAZMAT team remove it.   As this device and its chemicals are considered HAZMAT, and as you would note from their response to your request for its removal, that they take this device very seriously, you should not do it yourself.   In fact they may arrive with a BOMB disposal detail.    While this may seem like fun for a few seconds, regardless of how this came into your possession, you could be charged with possession of the device, and the fact that the safe is booby trapped, you could also be fined accordingly AND have to pay for the police, fire, HAZMAT and possibly Bomb Disposal teams response to your location.

Note:   While the device isn't nearly as dangerous as they would make it out.   They have to justify the use of all of their expensive toys, and/or overtime costs.    While I do not blame them for being cautious in their handling of the device, calling them is NOT my number one recommendation.

3.   Best choice - contact an established local safe company - NOT a locksmith shop, and have their trained safe technician remove the device.    Let the safe company deal with the HAZMAT people.    It can safely be removed and disposed of without your having to possibly deal with the possibility of fines or charges being levied against you.

I have to remove several of these devices every year, and if done properly, it is not a problem.     If the local safe company doesn't want to deal with it, or they recommend contacting the police or fire, you may want to look for another safe company.

At a minimum, have the safe inspected to determine if the container ACTUALLY has a tear gas device installed, then you can proceed as above to have it removed.

As far as the "VALUE" of the container - it currently would be considered a negative value while this device is attached.

If after you have the device removed, you would still like me to look at the container to evaluate it or appraise it for you, I would be happy to do so at that time.

Hope this helps,

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.