Locksmithing/Cramers Safe

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Question
I just purchased a small Cramers safe outside dimensions = 18.5 Tall by 15.25 wide on wheels. It has two hinges, both with a decorative knob on top. I am looking for a replacement for one of the knobs. It was broken off just before I purchased it. # on the Cramers tag is R4092 if that helps. Is there any place I can go to get this decorative part. I was able to open the back of the safe door and figure out the combo rather easily, but don't know what to do for this part.

Answer
Hi Herb,

The name of the decorative hinge cap is called a finial or acorn - but hinge cap works just as well.   The hinges would normally have the finials on BOTH the top and bottom, so you may be missing more than just the broken one.

Sorry, but there is no aftermarket manufacturer for safe parts, or any particular place like a parts store to go to - the market simply isn't large enough to support it, and most people are (lets be honest), too cheap to buy antique or old parts.    While they want their safe to be worth a fortune, they don't want to spend money to restore it or get it into condition to be worth money.

That being said, now lets answer your question.    In general, the used parts that ARE out there, were removed, stripped or harvested from donor safes which either were beyond saving or no one wanted to invest money into them.    Lock shops and safe companies get these older parts for "THEIR" use, in rebuilding safes, and while the intent isn't to sell them to customers - the parts are for sale.

The problem is that there is no inventory ANYWHERE of these old parts, and many of them are simply stowed in piles in card board boxes in someone's back room.   So simply asking for an item for a particular safe is usually going to be met with blank stares or outright laughter.   If you do find a safe company that is willing to look and possibly sell you that item, you had better be a serious buyer, because parts aren't going to be cheap.    And you may have to scour hundreds of larger safe companies to even find one of the items that you are looking for.
This is compounded if the parts are in someone's collection.   Getting them to part with the item may be worse than having teeth pulled without any anesthetic!!!

so what are your other options???    Find a local machine shop where the machinist is willing to work on single item projects.    Most machinists make their money by making a thousand items at a time.   Setting up and making a single piece isn't cost effective, and many simply won't do it.   With the cost of material, and labor, you can easily be in the $100 to $200 PER hinge acorn (finial).
My recommendation would be - if you are having them made, have four identical new ones made at the same time, it will NOT take away from the value of your safe, and will probably increase it, especially if they are well made.
My favorites are made from polished stainless steel as they are easy to keep clean and will look remarkable for years.

Basic History:
J. W. Cramer traveled from West Virginia to Kansas City to establish the Cramer Safe Company in 1886.   His two son's, Jess & Roy, took over the business around the beginning of the Great depression and the name was changed to Cramer Bros. Safe Co.   The business was sold to the Mosler Safe Company in 1940.  

I would like to see what your good acorn looks like, so I can look through my collection to see if I have any thing that matches.   If you would like me to look at your safe, I would be happy to do that as well.

Send your photos to me at:   andy@securitysafeusa.com    

Hope this helps and/or gives you some direction.

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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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