Safes & Security Containers/Antique Safe Restoration?


QUESTION: I have just purchased a floor safe manufactured by the Victoria Safe and Lock Company, Victoria Texas.  I have been able to determine that the company went out of business about 1916 and was only in business for approximately 11 or 12 years.  My question is whether to have the safe restored or to leave it as is?  Also where I might be able to purchase parts?  It is missing one finial and the key locks for the two interior doors.

ANSWER: Charlie,

I would be interested in seeing what you actually have.   The dates that I have for this company is at least 1910 through 1919, though it was probably in business before my references and similarly afterwards.   I don't have an accurate beginning ending date for this company, other than the dates of the new factory, which was built in 1911, though I have no references for what they used prior to this.

One interesting note that I have is that THIS company is one of the few that was known to use asbestos as an insulation material, so it would be considered a HAZMAT item if you elect to sell it, move it, and/or dispose of it.

As far as your questions concerning restoration, I will need to see what you have before I can make any recommendations.

There are no aftermarket "parts makers" for safes.   The interest simply isn't large enough to justify the business.   The only parts available would be from a safe & lock company who has salvaged parts off of a similar damaged safe.   As this company was NOT a well known national company, and was mainly regional, I doubt that you are going to find many samples outside of south Texas.   Actual identification of the locks or items in question will help in making recommendations.
Some parts like the hinge acorns (finials) will probably have to be made (fabricated).   You will need a machinist for this.

As I don't have any examples of these safes in my photo album, I would love to see what you actually have.

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 10mb 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.   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:

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.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the information.  How do I find out whether or not this safe has asbestos in it?  This may be a big factor in deciding what to do with it.  I will take some pictures and send them ASAP and would like a formal appraisal if the safe can be salvaged.



All of the information that I have on this company indicates that they used asbestos as an insulation material.

You can either take it at face value and assume that it DOES have this material.   Or you can have the insulation tested.   if you don't have a local HAZMAT testing agency, then you can obtain a home test kit from most hardware stores (Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware) and some CVS Pharmacies, or by going on line to:

Check your local and state regulations concerning selling, transporting or disposing of HAZMAT specifically Asbestos.    While you are under no obligations to follow this advice, getting caught not following the rules with stuff like this, can be really expensive.   Check your  options before deciding what to do.

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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. NOTE: I also answer safe related questions in the Locksmith and Antique Safe Categories sections.


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 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 Experts 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, including western Nevada

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