You are here:

Locksmithing/New lock for old safe.


I recently acquired a Herring Hall Marvin safe, #89404.  It is a double door, concrete filled, 40.5 x 27.75 x 68 inches.  It needs a new lock which has a longer than usual bolt, tongue, or whatever the part is which moves out of the lock body to prevent the safe handle from being moved when the safe is locked. I live in a very remote area and would much rather not pay to have a locksmith come out here.  
What lock might do the job for me?  I have successfully installed safe locks so feel confident about that part of this affair.  Thanks for you help.

Hi Curtis,

HHM used a bunch of different types of locks during the 67 odd years they were in business.   In order to try to get you a lock that is correct, how about we start by seeing what you actually have, so we can come up with a lock that will work.

Unfortunately the safe serial numbers don't do us much good for a number of reasons - 1.  The manufacturer never published any records about their safes, locks installed, etc. etc., and  
2.  I have no idea whether or not your lock was replaced or retrofitted during the past 60 plus years since they went out of business.

That being said, depending on when your safe was made, what lock was originally installed and if any modifications have been made - a replacement lock may or may not be readily available.    Besides looking for a lock for a safe which may be 60 to 80 years old, you may be looking for a lock which hasn't been available in that same time period.    

Your other alternative would be to have a new piece made that matches the piece you have questions about, but is long enough to meet your needs.   If you don't have machine shop capabilities, you may need to develop a new friend who has access to fabrication facilities.

As far as your installing the lock, I have no problem with your installing a lock on your safe, with the caveat that I NEVER recommend lock disassembly or installation by a locksmith or as a DIY project.   The consequences and costs of having a locked up safe are too high.    But bottom line that is your decision.    

As far as instructions on lock disassembly and/or installations - again as a DIY project you are pretty much on your own.    My basic classes are about a week long with the pre-requisite that you already have some locksmith training.

I applaud your interest and efforts in making this a DIY project as this is basically where most of us got our early interests and beginnings in this business.    As you have already installed some safe locks, I'm sure you are aware of the pitfalls and will take all the necessary precautions to install it correctly.

Anyway, send me photos of your safe, the lock you have installed, with close ups of the lock, lock bolt and/or specific items that you need me to look at.   Please send them as good quality, in focus, hi resolution jpeg type photo files.    If the photos are over 2mb per file, you may only be able to send 2-3 photos per email.    It's okay to send several emails with the necessary photos.  Send the photos to me at:

Hope I can help you out.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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)

©2017 All rights reserved.