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Locksmithing/Antique Metal Filing Cabinet


Office Spec Mfg
Office Spec Mfg  

Office Spec Mfg
Office Spec Mfg  
Hi there,
We bought this filing cabinet at an auction 6 months ago because we loved the art deco kind of look but when we went to pick it up it took 4 people.  It is unbelievably heavy and I wondered if there was a safe built in somewhere.  The top has 2 small pull out drawers and in the middle is a small door and when opened has a brass handle that you can turn.  I hear a "thunk" when I turn it but I cannot figure it out.  It is stamped on the side "Office Specialty Manufacturing Company Limited" and I know they operated from the late 1800s until 1950s or so in Newmarket Ontario.  (we have all the drawers but some are out in the pic as we just tried to move it again but we don't have a key to lock it).  Do you know anything about this cabinet and why it is so darn heavy?

Hi Sandra,

First off, let me say that office equipment and specifically "filing cabinets" is not one of my areas of expertise - I deal in safes & vaults.

As far as your question concerning the weight of the cabinet - weight is determined by material and construction.   Without seeing the actual cabinet or having info concerning how it was made, I can't answer the question of weight.

Weight - by itself is a "VERY" subjective term.   To most people (90%+) 300 to 400 lbs is relatively heavy.  You can't lift it, and it is difficult to move.   In my profession - LIGHT weight is below 1500 lbs, Medium weight is 1500-5000 lbs, Heavy weight is 5000 to 10,000 lbs and super heavy is above that weight.    For someone who moves houses & buildings (for example) Light weight may be below 10,000 lbs.

So "HEAVY" would be relative to your perception of how much weight impresses you.    To me, this cabinet would be a light weight container.

Your cabinet does not appear to be an insulated (fire resistive) cabinet, so based on the thickness of the walls, I would have to guess that it is made of sheet steel.    Steel basically weighs around 42 lbs per square foot, 1" thick.   So if the walls of the container are 1/2" thick steel, you could calculate the weight based on 21 lbs per square foot.

Assuming that your container is 48"t x 18"w x 24"d and constructed of 1/2" steel, this would give you a weight of about 900 lbs.    Obviously if sizes are different, or construction material is different, the weight would vary.

The item I find interesting would be the inner compartment, behind the small door.   If this door doesn't open when the handle is turned, and/or the handle doesn't turn, as there is no "lock" on the door, this would indicate a possible hidden latch or release mechanism.

Again, as I mentioned, as this is outside of my area of expertise, I can't give you a possible age or any other info about it.   I would recommend that you find someone who specializes in antique or collectible "office equipment" to discuss this with or to find out more info.

Sorry, that I can't be of more help.    Hope I've given you at least a little info.


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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

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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