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Diebold Safe

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Diebold Safe

Postby Amold » Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:16 pm

Andy, I've recently inherited my family's original homestead, in the house is a diebold safe, it has numbers on the t-handle of 131236 with a 5 stamped above that, also a date of 1871 on the dial, unfortunately every one who would have known the combination to this has passed on, the safe is closed and locked, is there anyway to figure out the combination to this? or maybe it will just be an great conversation piece and alot of speculation as to whats in it for future generations!!

ANSWER: Rich,

The date(1871) is simply a patent date, NOT a manufacturing date.  Patent dates would be issued for up to 20 year periods and could continued to be used even afterwards if no changes were made to the patent which was referenced.

Basic History:

Diebold has been in business continuously since it was founded in 1859 by Charles Diebold and Fred Bahmann as "Diebold-Bahmann & Company".  In 1867 there was a "falling" out between several of the partners and Fred Bahmann left to form a new company with Gustave Mosler, known as "Mosler, Bahmann & Company".

Charles Diebold continued as the "Diebold & Kienzel" from 1867 until a new partnership was formed in 1874 with John W. Norris, who owned the Norris Safe Company in Portland, Oregon(basically a distributor, not a manufacture).  Mr. Norris had just made a huge sale in San Francisco of Diebold equipment.  Unfortunately, the contract had not been completed by 1876, and so the Partnership was disolved, with the company again changing the name of the company to the "Diebold Safe & Lock Company".

So as you can see from the above history, the EARLIEST your safe could possibly be, with a Diebold(only) name would be 1876, NOT 1871!

Second note of importance would be the serial number.  Unfortunately their aren't any available records to give us an exact date, and it is unclear if there were any serial number changes between the different company name changes.  However, ASSUMING that the serial numbers began in 1859, and continued, and ASSUMING that the company made between 2000 to 5000 safes per year during the first 30 years(about standard) This could easily give us a time frame of between 26-65 years to look at!!!!!  Even using the 26 year estimate, would give us a date of 1885!

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get Diebold to release any of their pre WWII records to me so that I can put together some kind of time line, so we have to look at the safe itself for clues as to the dates and time periods.

Now on to the next item in your question:  "is there any way to figure out the combination?"  Of course there is.  You have two ways, first you can try all of the available, possible combinations until you discover the correct one.  As your lock is possibly a 4 wheel lock, this would give you about 100,000,000 possibilities.  Trying 1000 combinations every day, it will only take about 273 years to try all of the available combinations!!!

I guess this WOULD make it a family heirloom AND conversation piece for the next 50 generations!!!!

Your other option would be to have a safe technician from a local safe company, NOT a locksmith, open your safe for you.  I NEVER recommend using locksmiths as they generally don't have the training, knowledge or tools and can charge you exhorbant fees and cause excessive damage to your possibly antique safe.  If you are going to have it ruined, you might as well save the money and ruin it yourself!

A trained safe technician should have the safe open AND repaired in a few hours, without damaging or ruining the safe OR the lock.  Price WILL depend on what you have.  If the safe is simply a standard cast iron, type record safe, the cost should be in the $350-$500 range.  If it is a Bankers Safe, then it could be in the $750 to $1000 range.  The safe may also include a "jewelers chest" inside the safe.  If this too is locked, it should cost between $500 to $750 to open and repair it.

As far as the last "speculation" of what is in the safe, probably not much.  Generally safes are not left with "stuff" inside of them, especially if it is valuable!  The exception to this would be deaths in the family, where there has been no time to pass on information or "stuff".

My recommendation would be for you to contact a local SAFE company for service.  If you don't have one in your area, let me know where you are(zip code) and I'll see who I can recommend in your area.

Good luck,

Andy

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

Thanks for the reply on the holiday weekend, I think I'd like someone to come and take a look at this thing, its in real good condition, most of the paint is still on it and the picture and lettering on the front are clean and bright,though it probably weighs about 600lbs or more, it is on wheels I could take it out of the house to someone if needed, and deaths in the family are exactly what's happened here so if you could recommend someone that would be great, I'm in Michigan, zip code is 48614, and thanks again
Amold
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2014 7:46 am

Diebold Safe

Postby Hydd » Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:07 am

Andy, I've recently inherited my family's original homestead, in the house is a diebold safe, it has numbers on the t-handle of 131236 with a 5 stamped above that, also a date of 1871 on the dial, unfortunately every one who would have known the combination to this has passed on, the safe is closed and locked, is there anyway to figure out the combination to this? or maybe it will just be an great conversation piece and alot of speculation as to whats in it for future generations!!

ANSWER: Rich,

The date(1871) is simply a patent date, NOT a manufacturing date.  Patent dates would be issued for up to 20 year periods and could continued to be used even afterwards if no changes were made to the patent which was referenced.

Basic History:

Diebold has been in business continuously since it was founded in 1859 by Charles Diebold and Fred Bahmann as "Diebold-Bahmann & Company".  In 1867 there was a "falling" out between several of the partners and Fred Bahmann left to form a new company with Gustave Mosler, known as "Mosler, Bahmann & Company".

Charles Diebold continued as the "Diebold & Kienzel" from 1867 until a new partnership was formed in 1874 with John W. Norris, who owned the Norris Safe Company in Portland, Oregon(basically a distributor, not a manufacture).  Mr. Norris had just made a huge sale in San Francisco of Diebold equipment.  Unfortunately, the contract had not been completed by 1876, and so the Partnership was disolved, with the company again changing the name of the company to the "Diebold Safe & Lock Company".

So as you can see from the above history, the EARLIEST your safe could possibly be, with a Diebold(only) name would be 1876, NOT 1871!

Second note of importance would be the serial number.  Unfortunately their aren't any available records to give us an exact date, and it is unclear if there were any serial number changes between the different company name changes.  However, ASSUMING that the serial numbers began in 1859, and continued, and ASSUMING that the company made between 2000 to 5000 safes per year during the first 30 years(about standard) This could easily give us a time frame of between 26-65 years to look at!!!!!  Even using the 26 year estimate, would give us a date of 1885!

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get Diebold to release any of their pre WWII records to me so that I can put together some kind of time line, so we have to look at the safe itself for clues as to the dates and time periods.

Now on to the next item in your question:  "is there any way to figure out the combination?"  Of course there is.  You have two ways, first you can try all of the available, possible combinations until you discover the correct one.  As your lock is possibly a 4 wheel lock, this would give you about 100,000,000 possibilities.  Trying 1000 combinations every day, it will only take about 273 years to try all of the available combinations!!!

I guess this WOULD make it a family heirloom AND conversation piece for the next 50 generations!!!!

Your other option would be to have a safe technician from a local safe company, NOT a locksmith, open your safe for you.  I NEVER recommend using locksmiths as they generally don't have the training, knowledge or tools and can charge you exhorbant fees and cause excessive damage to your possibly antique safe.  If you are going to have it ruined, you might as well save the money and ruin it yourself!

A trained safe technician should have the safe open AND repaired in a few hours, without damaging or ruining the safe OR the lock.  Price WILL depend on what you have.  If the safe is simply a standard cast iron, type record safe, the cost should be in the $350-$500 range.  If it is a Bankers Safe, then it could be in the $750 to $1000 range.  The safe may also include a "jewelers chest" inside the safe.  If this too is locked, it should cost between $500 to $750 to open and repair it.

As far as the last "speculation" of what is in the safe, probably not much.  Generally safes are not left with "stuff" inside of them, especially if it is valuable!  The exception to this would be deaths in the family, where there has been no time to pass on information or "stuff".

My recommendation would be for you to contact a local SAFE company for service.  If you don't have one in your area, let me know where you are(zip code) and I'll see who I can recommend in your area.

Good luck,

Andy

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

Thanks for the reply on the holiday weekend, I think I'd like someone to come and take a look at this thing, its in real good condition, most of the paint is still on it and the picture and lettering on the front are clean and bright,though it probably weighs about 600lbs or more, it is on wheels I could take it out of the house to someone if needed, and deaths in the family are exactly what's happened here so if you could recommend someone that would be great, I'm in Michigan, zip code is 48614, and thanks again
Hydd
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 10:14 am

Diebold Safe

Postby ArIyn » Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:39 pm

Rich,

I'll give you the names of a couple companies, you can discuss their charges and fees directly with them to determine who to deal with.  My major concern is always with their proposed opening and repairing techniques.  While it is possible to manipulate the safe lock open, you may not have anyone that is trained or competent in manipulation in your area, which means drilling.  Drilling itself, when done correctly by a professional safe technician should only result in a single, small hole, and NOT cause any damage to the lock and/or safe.  When done incorrectly by a novice or "want-a-be" Safe Tech, can result in your safe being turned into swiss cheese or ruined!

Lansing Safe & Lock   (40 miles)

800-397-5826

1421 Shaffer Ct

Lansing, MI  48917

Metro/Anchor Safe & Lock   (83 miles)

586-755-3570

2627 E. 8 Mile Rd

Warren, MI  48091

Noble Locksmith Service, Inc.   (92 miles)

810-385-*329

2670 Grace Road

Fort Gratiot, MI 48059 Deskalo Safe & Lock   (184 miles)

414-351-5366

2415 West Suelane Rd

Glendale, WI  53209

Professional Safe & Lock services,   (187 miles)

414 327 5625

5123 West Howard Avenue

Milwaukee, Wisconsin  53220

If one of these companies can't help you, they may know of someone closer to you.  Obviously if you can take the safe to them you should save money, but then you also have YOUR time and effort involved, of course if I remember right you wanted this to be a "family" project!

Good luck,

Andy
ArIyn
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:06 am


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