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Locksmithing/Diebold Safe / Vault door identification



I just rescued a sheild vault door from an old courthouse in Florida.  The door is original to the courthouse and I suspect is over 100 years old.   I would like to restore it (shine the metal and remove years of paint).  I'm interested in knowing more about the model of the door and any other information.  There is a dial combination and it has Patented May 23 1871 (I know the age can be up to 20 years after that)... There is a serial number on the handle "120708" .  On the back side of the door is the back of the dial mechanism is another number "81428" (the 4 is raised above the other numbers ).  It is also marked in the back as "Diebold Safe and Lock Co. Canton O" ( there isn't an "h" there same as on the dial).

General dimensions 78"L x 35W x 2.5"H. (Just the front plate is 3/4").  There are 3 hing areas on side of the door.

I plan to put it in my house so may need to figure out where to get a matching frame.


Hi Tom,

Unfortunately, I don't have any dates of manufacturer from Diebold, they don't normally release that information, though you might try contacting them to see if they will tell you when YOUR door was made, or at least give you a better time period idea.

You are correct - the Patent date listed on the dial is simply referencing the date the patent was issued, though the date could be referenced for as long as the manufacture used that particular item.    The 20 years is simply a reference age, as manufactures rarely sit still and are constantly coming up with new ideas and products.   For instance Diebold's "STANDARD" fire safe, had doors with rounded corners - this design was used as a "staple" product from around 1885 until the mid 1920's - a period of about 40 years.

As far as the type or model of your door, this appears to be just a standard plate steel door.    These were light weight security doors used in banks, offices, lumber yards, by any business or even by home owners needing a small vault for personal storage.    They offered NO fire resistance, and moderate security.
Areas which needed more security or burglary protection would have had the larger crane hinge, pressure bar type vault doors.

As far as where you are going to get a matching frame - it was with the door at some point.   There are no replacements.   Based on your comments, I would suspect that your frame and vestibule were NOT taken out.

I'm in the same boat with a HHM door that I rescued.    So you are going to have to fabricate a new frame AND hinges to match your door.   If not, then you may wind up with some large "yard art".

While the original frame and vestibule was of a size that sorta of dictated how and where you would install the door - starting off from scratch will allow you to build the frame to meet your needs, you just need to ensure that it is strong enough so that when installed, it will support the door opening and closing.
Also, when you make the new lower hinge blocks, I would recommend that you make them adjustable, so that you can make minor adjustments as necessary over time to keep the door running smoothly.   Incorporate bearings or bushings so that it operates smoothly, and a grease fitting of some type, so that you don't have to "pull the door" to lubricate the hinges.  


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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 40 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of two Tilton & McFarland safes from the 1860'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.


40 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. 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

SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association

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 - 2014 - 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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