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Old York Safe & Lock Co. Safe


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#1 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2013 - 08:06 PM

I figured I would post this on there as some of you guys might even know some information for me on these old safes.

 

The previous owner of the house left it here. Don't blame him as the thing has to weight over a 1,000 lbs and only way out is through the cellar steps and it would not be fun. The front door was open in the locked position so it couldn't be closed. We had spun it so the door was facing the wall and the kids couldn't pinch their fingers in it. That is how it sat since we have lived here and never gave the thing much thought. 

 

My one coworker mentioned that he was looking to get a bigger safe. I was joking around telling him that we had a large safe down in the basement but didn't know how he would ever get it out without spending a good bit of money doing it. He had brought up about if it was an old York Safe that they tend to be worth more than some of the others. I knew the safe had some artwork on it but didn't remember how much or the name that was on it or if it even had a name.

 

Fast forward to just the other day. I went down in the basement and used a 2x4 to spin the safe so the casters were pointing perpendicular to the wall and exposed the front door. Walked around to the front of it and here it was a York Safe. There is an inner door that has a key type lock and it is closed and locked. 

 

I took a bunch of pictures of it and took them into work so my coworker could check them out. I was bound and determined to get the thing open. I really don't think there is anything in it. The previous owner of the house built the place in 73 and this safe is probably from 1880 to 1890. I think he might have bought it at an auction at some point.

 

I was able to figure out the combination on the front door. I took the back of the lock and panel off the back of the front door and studied the wheels and the rotations to see what it took to get the gates lined up. I knew the dial closest to the inner part of the safe was the first number of the combination.

 

It is a 5 number combination but the last number only puts the fence into the gate moving the bolt and allowing it to open. I am going to call a locksmith tomorrow to see about having them come out and pick the inner door lock.

 

I will attach some pics of the safe.

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#2 crittersf1 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2013 - 08:24 PM

Some of these were painted with "gold leaf?" I don't know if this one is old enough for that.


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#3 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2013 - 08:27 PM

Congratulations on figuring out the combo. Try the combo atleast 6 times before you let that door close. I've been given several safes because they lost the combo. Half an hour to 6 hours later and I had a working safe. I would gently try to pick the inner lock. Locksmiths are expensive.

 

The decorations on the safe are probably gold leaf. That safe is probably worth alot of money. Check around before you part with it.

 

Gold leaf goes back thousands of years. It offers the advantage that it doesnt fade or tarnish.


Edited by boyscout862, February 14, 2013 - 08:37 PM.

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#4 KennyP OFFLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2013 - 08:30 PM

Cool safe, George. Nice place to keep the GT parts!


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#5 superaben OFFLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2013 - 08:35 PM

We've got an old safe in the basement that was used at a local bookstore in the 1910's.  The original script is on the front.  The thing is just 2 foot square, but it is heavy enough to make moving it interesting.  My Great-Grandfather bought it and used it in his mechanics garage for years.  When he died the lock had to be picked: when his wife died, the lock had to be picked: when his son died the lock had to be picked.  It gets old after awhile!

 

Safes do have fanatics just like we are about tractors.  Make sure you know what its worth so we don't read about you in a safe collector forum: "I bought it from an idiot who didn't know what he had and sold it to me for a song!"

 

Ben W.


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#6 Nato77 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2013 - 08:39 PM

I got one of them big old safes too. Mine is at least open but I don't have the combination. Its a Herring Hall - Marvin Company from Cincinnati Ohio from around 1890- 1910.

I took the inside door cover off to see if I could get the combination figured out, but with the door being 7" thick I can't see the mechanisms moving. There is only a 3 -4" hole to look through.

 

Need to do something pretty soon, can't sleep so good on my bed anymore. Just have to call a lock smith I guess so I can lock up all them gold bars between the matresses :D

 

Your almost better off keeping your cash in it verses a bank for the amount of inetrest they give you on your money.


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#7 wilberj ONLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2013 - 08:42 PM

We have a safe just like that one heavy thing it is.

 

On thing I learned from a lock smith is you have to be careful with older safes because some had a poison they put behind the door of were the lock workings are to kill peaple tring to get into the workings of the lock..


Edited by wilberj, February 14, 2013 - 08:44 PM.

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#8 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2013 - 08:44 PM

Congratulations on figuring out the combo. Try the combo atleast 6 times before you let that door close. I've been given several safes because they lost the combo. Half an hour to 6 hours later and I had a working safe. I would gently try to pick the inner lock. Locksmiths are expensive.

 

The decorations on the safe are probably gold leaf. That safe is probably worth alot of money. Check around before you part with it.

 

Gold leaf goes back thousands of years. It offers the advantage that it doesnt fade or tarnish.

 

I would love to be able to pick the lock but when it comes to that I have no idea what I would be doing. From what I can see though it looks like it is going to be some sort of lever lock rather than wafers or pins and a tumbler.


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#9 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2013 - 08:46 PM

Cool safe, George. Nice place to keep the GT parts!

 

I don't know how many parts would actually fit in there but it might be worth a try. :D


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#10 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2013 - 08:48 PM

We've got an old safe in the basement that was used at a local bookstore in the 1910's.  The original script is on the front.  The thing is just 2 foot square, but it is heavy enough to make moving it interesting.  My Great-Grandfather bought it and used it in his mechanics garage for years.  When he died the lock had to be picked: when his wife died, the lock had to be picked: when his son died the lock had to be picked.  It gets old after awhile!

 

Safes do have fanatics just like we are about tractors.  Make sure you know what its worth so we don't read about you in a safe collector forum: "I bought it from an idiot who didn't know what he had and sold it to me for a song!"

 

Ben W.

 

I don't want to sell it and would like to use it. Would be cool if it is worth some money but I am more interested in the history of it and trying to find out more information on who G.W. Gross is. I know the Geo. W. Laucks is George Laucks who was the owner of the York Safe and Lock Co. and was the local York selling agent. He passed away in 1942 I believe and it wasn't long after that the company went under. Used to actually be where Harley Davidson is now.


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#11 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2013 - 08:51 PM

I got one of them big old safes too. Mine is at least open but I don't have the combination. Its a Herring Hall - Marvin Company from Cincinnati Ohio from around 1890- 1910.

I took the inside door cover off to see if I could get the combination figured out, but with the door being 7" thick I can't see the mechanisms moving. There is only a 3 -4" hole to look through.

 

Need to do something pretty soon, can't sleep so good on my bed anymore. Just have to call a lock smith I guess so I can lock up all them gold bars between the matresses :D

 

Your almost better off keeping your cash in it verses a bank for the amount of inetrest they give you on your money.

 

 

If you can see the lock wheels it is pretty easy to figure out the combo. Just a matter of getting all of the notches lined up on the wheels and checking the number on the dial when each one lines up and also recording the number of revolutions past one number to get to the next.

 

This one you have to turn it to the right at least 5 times around so it catches all 5 wheels to get the lock ready for the combo and go to your first number.


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#12 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2013 - 08:53 PM

We have a safe just like that one heavy thing it is.

 

On thing I learned from a lock smith is you have to be careful with older safes because some had a poison they put behind the door of were the lock workings are to kill peaple tring to get into the workings of the lock..

 

I did read about some of that where they would have poison or explosives inside the walls of the safe if someone were to tamper with it. I don't think that would be the case with this one but I guess you never know. It is heavy. I had to use a 2 x 4 about 5' long to use for leverage to walk it around and rotate it. Moving it about an inch or two at a time. Than I had to use the 2x4 for leverage to roll it away from the wall.


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#13 Nato77 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2013 - 09:01 PM

If you can see the lock wheels it is pretty easy to figure out the combo. Just a matter of getting all of the notches lined up on the wheels and checking the number on the dial when each one lines up and also recording the number of revolutions past one number to get to the next.

 

This one you have to turn it to the right at least 5 times around so it catches all 5 wheels to get the lock ready for the combo and go to your first number.

I'll have to try and give it another shot. Been a few years since I last tried.

 

The one I have weighs about 850 pounds from the research I've found on it.  Looks to be about the same size as yours.


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#14 Cvans ONLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2013 - 09:01 PM

For some reason old safes intrigue me. I guess maybe it's because you know that the things that were stored in there were valuable. Our treasures office huge old walk in safe. They use it for a break room.  Good place to store the coffee and donuts.


Edited by Cvans, February 15, 2013 - 12:14 PM.

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#15 daytime dave OFFLINE  

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Posted February 14, 2013 - 09:14 PM

George, that is really cool.  I agree with you.  Get a locksmith and get it working.  It would be a cool thing to use. 


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