Locksmithing/safe identification


1st safe holding files and the one that has now fell through the floor
1st safe holding files  
QUESTION: so me and a buddy were exploring some mines when we found a burned down house with a huge concrete safe (about 20ftx15ftx15ft) in it. we managed to get into the safe because the door was badly heat warped. on the inside was a huge amount of files from the last years the mine was worked (1939-1943) and an old safe from about the same era that was about 3-4ft tall and mabe 2-3ft wide. the door has two long bars on the right side connected to the hinges and a broken off dial the whole thing looks like it was painted black or very dark grey and it has gold lettering.we brought a truck the next time and a 8,000lb winch and wrapped a 30,000lb rated tow strap around it and tried to winch it out but it pulled the truck back a bit then it fell through the floor pulling the truck about 4ft back... i would like to know what type of safe it could be or how to get into it because there is a superfund deal up here in montana and they are slowly but surely getting rid of all mines up here. thanks

ANSWER: Hi Connor,

I would need to see much better photos of the "safe" to answer your questions.   Note:   If it is a walk in type container, it would be a vault and NOT a safe.

Send me photos of the vault door and/or the smaller safe, and I'll see what questions I can answer.

As far as "how to get into the safe" - sorry, but we do not give out any information other than proper dialing sequences for the lock installed.    If it is locked up, you would need to ahve it opened by a safe technician from a local safe company.

You can send the photos to me at:   andy@securitysafeusa.com    I would be happy to look at it for you.    Make sure they are good quality photos.    If you can't see details, then I won't be able to either.

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hall\'s lock and safe Co.
hall's lock and safe C  
QUESTION: so i haven't been able to get back up there and identify the safe,but i managed to find only one picture on google that had the same style hinge system on the right side. is there a name for that style? also the one that i've found has bigger longer levers and no bar that connects the levers in-between. sorry if i'm wasting your time i just want to figure this out.

ANSWER: Hi Conner,

sorry but I never make comparisons based on a safe someone finds on line.   The majority of the time, they are not the same thing,  not the same model or the same manufacturer.

You aren't wasting my time,  however the only way for me to help you is by examining the actual container which you have questions about.

When you get a chance to get back to the safe to get the necessary photos,  I would be happy to look at it.

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hall\'s safe
hall's safe  

hall\'s safe
hall's safe  
QUESTION: So I managed to make it up yesterday to work on it and took a few pictures of  the frontend

Hi Connor,

well based on the patent dates on the safe, your safe would have been built between what ever the October date (can't see it in the photo) but I believe it is October 1973 and the close of business in 1892, so this safe IS going to be an antique.

I would be more than happy to see more photos of the safe so I can answer more questions.

In order to answer specific questions, identify, evaluate or appraise your safe, I'm going to need photos.  They should include full exterior and interior.  Detail photos should include pictures of the dial, handles, hinges, artwork, locks, bolt work, castors, cabinetry and any special details or damage.  Note:  You may have to remove the back panel on the door to gain access to the lock & bolt work – I will need these pics.
If you have a particular detail that you have a question about, I will need a photo of it along with your question.

I will also need to see any documentation that you have in regards to your safe.  If your safe has a unique historical perspective, you should be able to document this with letters, newspaper articles or photos, if not it is simply a story and will have no bearing on the value of your safe.

Please use as high a resolution as possible so that I can examine details of your safe.  Pictures which are low resolution, out of focus, or from a distance don’t help when we try to evaluate the container.  Note:  with higher resolution, you may only be able to send 2-4 pictures per email, depending on the size of the file, I have a 12mb limit per email.  If photos are larger than 2mb each, you may only be able to send 2 or 3 photos per email, requiring several emails.

Please don’t send me “cell phone” photos, unless they are very clear and of sufficient resolution.   Also, please don’t use online, internet photo drops as most of these also don’t allow me to easily access the photos for examination.   Send the pics directly to me, while this may be more work for you, it will make my job easier.

Please send all of the requested photos to:  andy@securitysafeusa.com

Note:  As I am in the field several days each week, covering a huge service area, I may not get back to your photos immediately, but I will respond as soon as I get an opportunity.  Due to field work, emails may tend to get backed up which means I may not answer them immediately.

Our informal evaluation is at no charge, however if you feel you need a formal evaluation or appraisal for insurance, estate sales, donations for tax write offs, or to establish it as an antique, there is an administrative fee for this service.  


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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 AllExperts.com

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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