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Chatelaine's Antiques and Appraisals Magazine > Collectibles > Our Opinion: Safe's History

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Dear Chatelaine's Antiques,
I need some help finding information on an old safe that my parents have. The safe is approximately 7 feet tall, 3-4 feet wide, 3 feet deep. It's labeled Chicago Safe & Lock Co but also seems to say Cincinnati O sort of overlapping the Chicago logo.

Difficult to unlock
safe's history

 The inside doors say "Made expressly for Edgar Bryan, Seattle WT." This leads me to believe the safe was made prior to Washington becoming a state in 1889. 

 It's a very large cast iron safe on rollers with vault doors of 10-12 inches thick. We're trying to find some information on the safe and owner but we've come up empty so far.

Dear B.M.,

 You raise some interesting issues regarding your safe. The Chicago Safe and Lock Company is long out of business, but in its day produced thousands of safes. A popular misconception is that safe companies track the safe and combinations they sell. They don't. Once a safe is in the marketplace, there's really no way to track it. That's comforting news for safe owners, but not so good for people like you, trying to track a safe's history.

 Finding more information about this safe may be especially difficult, because it wasn't sold directly by the Chicago Safe and Lock Company. Instead, the safe was part of a wholesale deal with the firm Edgar Bryan, which then sold it to a retail client.

I 'd say your guess on the date is fairly accurate. The safe definitely appears to have been manufactured in the late 19th century. For more information, you might try the National Antique Safe Association in Holly, Colorado.


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