Antique Safe Question

NCL4701

Well-known member

Equipment
L4701, WC68 chipper, grapple, BB1572 box scrape, Howes 500, 16kW IMD gen
Apr 27, 2020
1,515
1,732
113
Central Piedmont, NC
Maybe odd to post on a tractor forum but there seem to be quite a few folks on here with knowledge well beyond orange tractors.

This safe has been in my family for many years. Who exactly purchased it, where and when: no clue.

What I do know…
It has a key lock, skeleton key for the main door. Turn clockwise once to lock. Turn clockwise twice and it “double locks”. If double locked you have to insert the key half way, 1/4 turn counterclockwise, then back to starting position, insert fully, one turn counterclockwise to open. The handle doesn’t turn, just a dead knob. The key moves the bolts. It’s a box inside of a box design with some sort of insulating material in between. Once the main door is open there’s an inside door that requires a second skeleton key and a couple little wooden drawers behind that door that require a third skeleton key. There are also dividers for organizing papers. Inside setup is pretty typical for an office style safe. Manufactured by Eisenman & Mangold, 156 Vine St, Philadelphia, PA. Found an 1864 notice in an archive of Press - Philadelphia (a newspaper) listing a Eisenman & Mangold Salamander safe for sale as part of an estate sale. Unable to find any other record of this company. 156 Vine St is still there but looks like fancy town houses currently. This thing weighs a LOT, particularly for its size.

What I think I know…
“Salamander” safes were marketed as fireproof safes. Doesn’t seem to be a manufacturer specific model or term. That explains the box in box with insulation between design. There’s no damage so I can’t tell what kind of insulation it has. Overall weight suggests concrete or something of similar density. That or the steel plating is quite thick. This type safe was first manufactured around 1840. Key locks started going out in favor of combination locks in the 1880’s and 90’s.

Don’t see any external rivets on it. Will look at it harder in the morning to see how it’s joined together: hammer welded, riveted, gas welded, stick welded, etc.

Anyway, if there are any antique safe experts out there that know anything about this thing: how old it is, if it’s worth anything, if it’s really fire resistant, what happened to Eisenman & Mangold Makers of 156 Vine St., your knowledge would be greatly appreciated.

BTW: It still works perfectly and is still used.


A3689991-58A2-4362-B2E6-D8643CC04EC1.jpeg
C26B6A6D-9FF5-4CB6-9E45-C8874BB9F8BE.jpeg
 
Last edited:

DustyRusty

Well-known member

Equipment
BX23S
Nov 8, 2015
2,251
1,446
113
North East
Thanks for the instructions on how it works. Could you please provide me with your address so I can come to try to break into it. Cool looking item. I had an old safe in a home that I bought, and as far as I know, it is still in the cellar. Too heavy to move, and I taped the combination to the door, so anyone that wanted to look in it, could. I never kept anything in there, but I often thought of putting some realistic-looking skeleton bones inside to freak out the next homeowner.
 
  • Like
  • Haha
Reactions: 2 users

hagrid

Well-known member

Equipment
K1600GTL, ZX-14R
Jun 11, 2018
469
372
63
Pittsburgh
We cut open an oldie... turned out the same way Geraldo's did.

The insulation was powdered clay. Made one hell of a mess when I gouged into it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

ve9aa

Well-known member

Equipment
tg1860, bx2380
Apr 11, 2021
585
352
63
NB, Canada
You need to send it to "the lock picking lawyer" on youtube.
He has quite a following.

Sorry, no help here. Moving along. . . .
 

Lil Foot

Well-known member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
1979 B7100DT Gear, Nissan Hanix N150-2 Excavator
May 19, 2011
6,429
1,241
113
Peoria, AZ
I opened an old Wells Fargo box (not sure of the manufacturer) for a friend who inherited it from his grandpa. Used an amplified electronic stethoscope borrowed from work. Took about 5 hrs. We found some gold & silver US coins & an old pocket watch. Kinda fun.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

NCL4701

Well-known member

Equipment
L4701, WC68 chipper, grapple, BB1572 box scrape, Howes 500, 16kW IMD gen
Apr 27, 2020
1,515
1,732
113
Central Piedmont, NC
I opened an old Wells Fargo box (not sure of the manufacturer) for a friend who inherited it from his grandpa. Used an amplified electronic stethoscope borrowed from work. Took about 5 hrs. We found some gold & silver US coins & an old pocket watch. Kinda fun.
That would be really fun to find something unexpected or valuable. There were some items in this one that were interesting from a family history standpoint but nothing of any monetary value.

Found the court orders associated with my father’s adoption and name change when he was 5, which completely refuted the story of his adoption he had always told us. A few similar items that cleared up some of the history that had been filtered to make it more palatable, but nothing earth shattering.

Somewhat funny story from tonight. Wife and I were at Dad’s house tonight continuing cleaning. She saw the safe pulled out from its usual spot under the stairs and said with it being on wheels it would be awfully easy to steal the whole thing. Told her if she could roll it 10’ without any machinery I’d give her $100. If she could get one corner off the ground without a lever or the forklift I’d give her $1000. She about gave herself a hernia and I got some entertainment, but I kept my money and she admitted no way two guys could toss it in a truck.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: 1 user

bird dogger

Well-known member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
Kubota B2650 and lots of other equipment
Feb 24, 2019
1,313
1,017
113
North Dakota
Maybe odd to post on a tractor forum but there seem to be quite a few folks on here with knowledge well beyond orange tractors.

This safe has been in my family for many years. Who exactly purchased it, where and when: no clue.

What I do know…
It has a key lock, skeleton key for the main door. Turn clockwise once to lock. Turn clockwise twice and it “double locks”. If double locked you have to insert the key half way, 1/4 turn counterclockwise, then back to starting position, insert fully, one turn counterclockwise to open. The handle doesn’t turn, just a dead knob. The key moves the bolts. It’s a box inside of a box design with some sort of insulating material in between. Once the main door is open there’s an inside door that requires a second skeleton key and a couple little wooden drawers behind that door that require a third skeleton key. There are also dividers for organizing papers. Inside setup is pretty typical for an office style safe. Manufactured by Eisenman & Mangold, 156 Vine St, Philadelphia, PA. Found an 1864 notice in an archive of Press - Philadelphia (a newspaper) listing a Eisenman & Mangold Salamander safe for sale as part of an estate sale. Unable to find any other record of this company. 156 Vine St is still there but looks like fancy town houses currently. This thing weighs a LOT, particularly for its size.

What I think I know…
“Salamander” safes were marketed as fireproof safes. Doesn’t seem to be a manufacturer specific model or term. That explains the box in box with insulation between design. There’s no damage so I can’t tell what kind of insulation it has. Overall weight suggests concrete or something of similar density. That or the steel plating is quite thick. This type safe was first manufactured around 1840. Key locks started going out in favor of combination locks in the 1880’s and 90’s.

Don’t see any external rivets on it. Will look at it harder in the morning to see how it’s joined together: hammer welded, riveted, gas welded, stick welded, etc.

Anyway, if there are any antique safe experts out there that know anything about this thing: how old it is, if it’s worth anything, if it’s really fire resistant, what happened to Eisenman & Mangold Makers of 156 Vine St., your knowledge would be greatly appreciated.

BTW: It still works perfectly and is still used.


View attachment 87429 View attachment 87430
I've never seen a safe lock mechanism like you described. But there are some "Salamander Safes" whose construction is very similar to yours. And there's a few that are identical to yours....but with different locking mechanisms and manufacturer's badges. It would seem one outfit was maybe making the actual enclosures for a few different "Safe" companies who installed their own locks and badges on them? The literature and info on them is scarce to non existant.

That's a cool safe, you have!! Some of the old office style safes have removeable inserts so that the purchaser could choose the "interior" that fit their needs or reconfigure it as needed.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user