View Full Version : c.1903 Mosler Safe

Shane Tuttle
October 30, 2009, 10:20 PM
I recently purchased an old Mosler safe on the cheap from a coworker. It's in fair condition for it's age. Showing some rust and the painted murials are faded. The combination has since been lost so I'm going to have to hire a safe technician in order to get it open. Old safes aren't exactly a hot commodity if this is the case, but I thought it would be a cool item to add to my shop. The owner doesn't know if there's anthing inside nor did the previous owner. It's said it's been shut for the past 60+ years. I'm more interested to see if there's anything worth the time safecracking it.

If I end up drilling the lock, I'm planning on cleaning it up and use it for some firearms related storage in my shop. Plus, it would be a pretty neat conversation piece if anything...

Anyone use old safes for storing their guns like this?

October 30, 2009, 10:46 PM
I love ANYTHING old! That old safe sounds really awesome! Got any pictures?

Shane Tuttle
October 30, 2009, 10:57 PM
Not yet. I'm picking it up tomorrow after doing some errands...(DMV:mad:). It's been rainy here all week and I'm itching to get it in my shop.

4V50 Gary
October 30, 2009, 11:25 PM
I think you're better off hiring a locksmith to drill it. He knows exactly where to drill and at what angle.

A lot of those older safes may only have a thin sheet of steel on the exterior of the door. Then there's some insulation (concrete?) and then another layer of steel on the inside. When they fill the hole, they use a metal putty that hardens when dry.

October 31, 2009, 12:04 AM
Call Geraldo before you open it.:D

October 31, 2009, 03:56 AM
DO NOT HAVE IT DRILLED, unless there is no other way to open it! Call a cat burglar if you have to but don't destroy that old beauty!

October 31, 2009, 07:02 AM
Sounds like fun, could be very cool, and maybe Jimmy Hoffa is hidden in it.

Good luck.

October 31, 2009, 10:12 AM
Although you can see if there is anybody that manipulates locks in your area, drilling safes is not a bad option. So long as it is a professional behind the drill, the safe will suffer minimal damage, which is generally repairable.

I have never found anything of value inside of an old safe, but there are other things you can find, such as teargas canisters designed to prevent burglary. It's some nasty stuff.

If you need me to point you in the direction of a professional safe guy in your area, I would be happy to do so.

Shane Tuttle
October 31, 2009, 09:44 PM
If you need me to point you in the direction of a professional safe guy in your area, I would be happy to do so.

By all means, I want someone that knows what they're doing. By the way, this is the same safe we had a discussion about via email a couple of weeks ago. I picked it up today and although a little rusty, it's in really nice condition for being over 100 years old. The dial doesn't turn very smooth. It feels like it's stripped if that means anything. If I do have to drill it, I'd like to find someone that sells original Mosler locks. If/when I restore it I'd like to make it at least look original.

November 1, 2009, 12:43 PM

John Sawyer
J&J Locks Safes & Alarms
1304 West 4Th St
Davenport IA, 52802
Country: United States
Fax: 563-322-5662
Phone: 563-322-0123

Tell him a fellow SAVTA member sent you. If you get a chance to take some photos of the safe e-mail them to me. I may be able to provide you with some additional information. A broad view of the safe in addition to some close ups of the hinges, dial, dial and handle in the same frame, and the wheels can give us some clues as to what you're dealing with.

The neat thing about antique safes is that you never really do know what will be inside. Additional doors or additional safes are common.

Shane Tuttle
November 1, 2009, 08:38 PM
Much appreciated. I'll see if I can get some pics up in the next few days.

357 Python
November 1, 2009, 10:11 PM
I believe Mosler is still in business. They also did bank vaults and other high dollar safes. Google Mosler and check with them if they have any records of this model safe or if they can recommend a technician in your area.

November 2, 2009, 09:41 AM
Here's a Mosler dating site off the serial #. Plus there are a couple links that might help out.


November 3, 2009, 07:07 AM
Mosler is out of business. Older mechanical locks can often be defeated with an auto-dialer unless the lock set is actually broken. The government has been removing a lot of the older Mosler safes from service due to asbestos containing material being used in them for fire insulation. Just something to think about. Drilling or cutting and repair would be a last option but is a feasible solution if all else fails.

November 3, 2009, 09:36 AM
Sometimes there is a spot on the door for drilling (locksmith will know where) to be drilled and the safe can be opened. The comb may not have to be destroyed.

Shane Tuttle
November 3, 2009, 10:00 PM
Looks like per koolminx's site my safe was made roughly late 1915, not 1903. That's OK. It's still old as dirt. Took some pics and I'm patiently awaiting for my wife to help me post them.

The more I look at this beauty, the more I think I want to find a way to get it down to my basement so I can use it to store some gun "stuff".

Shane Tuttle
November 3, 2009, 10:35 PM



Shane Tuttle
November 3, 2009, 10:41 PM


November 3, 2009, 11:18 PM
the posts have no pictures.....

try photobucket hosting.

Shane Tuttle
November 4, 2009, 09:54 PM
OK, I think I fixed my goof-up...

November 4, 2009, 10:21 PM
Was their anything in the safe?? Did you ever get it opened??

Shane Tuttle
November 5, 2009, 12:06 AM
No, I just got it home this past weekend and haven't had time to call the safe tech. Hopefully, I'll give him a jingle in the next day or so.

November 5, 2009, 12:58 AM
WOW! That's a GORGEOUS safe!

Maybe there are a bunch of Microsoft stock certificates or Apple stock or a Pile of Hundred Dollar bills from 1925 which would be worth about $40K today....

Maybe there's a CAT in the safe!

I like Cats! Especially dead ones! ;)

November 5, 2009, 10:12 AM
Many of the Mosler locks on that type of safe are "friction fence" locks. If your tech is careful, he can place his hole through the dial ring, and not cause any damage to the lock. At that point it's just a matter of replacing or repairing the dial ring.

November 5, 2009, 12:47 PM
When I was a teenager in the early 60's I worked part time at my Uncles coast to coast hardware store. He had an old safe on wheels that had dynamite and blasting caps stored in it, sold to farmers for blasting stumps or ponds. The safe locking tumbler broke and no locksmith would touch the safe (boom) so we buried it with a backhoe in a farm field.