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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Aberdeenshire
    Posts
    336
    Country: Great Britain

    Default My tuppencworth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve48 View Post
    I am very open to ideas. But of course the chances of anyone in this modern world wanting to cut this open with oxy-acetylene is about nil I would have thought.

    Any comments gratefully received, Steve.
    Steve, This safe when it was made was dual purpose. Much of the body strength was to prevent the safe bursting open in a fire where it could suffer a serious fall and the weight of much rubble falling upon it.
    The fire-resisting composition using a chemical to create sufficient moisture to dampen the paperwork inside was patented by Thos.Milner in 1840 and has never been bettered.
    The theft-resistance was excellent against the tools of the time - belly brace with hand made spade drills, the ratchet drill, and the very effective wedge and lever attack to spring the door.
    Incidentally, in 1865 a method of resisting wedge attack was invented by a Manchester policeman and consisted of metal blocks riveted to the back of the door with corresponding rebates in the door frame. This was patented by Milner but never pursued and was taken up by Whitfield. This puts your safe as pre-1865.
    The 4-way boltwork would prevent any attempt at forcing the door
    It is not known of any safes being illegally opened by lock picking during this period.
    Your safe body plates will be vulnerable to the modern disc-cutter but unlikely to justify the use of oxy-fuel cutter.
    An excellent safe for the period.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    599
    Country: Bulgaria

    Default

    How many criminals ever open a safe by picking the lock?

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Bransgore
    Posts
    30
    Country: England

    Default Ah but there is one little problem

    Quote Originally Posted by safeman View Post
    Steve, This safe when it was made was dual purpose. Much of the body strength was to prevent the safe bursting open in a fire where it could suffer a serious fall and the weight of much rubble falling upon it.
    The fire-resisting composition using a chemical to create sufficient moisture to dampen the paperwork inside was patented by Thos.Milner in 1840 and has never been bettered.
    The theft-resistance was excellent against the tools of the time - belly brace with hand made spade drills, the ratchet drill, and the very effective wedge and lever attack to spring the door.
    Incidentally, in 1865 a method of resisting wedge attack was invented by a Manchester policeman and consisted of metal blocks riveted to the back of the door with corresponding rebates in the door frame. This was patented by Milner but never pursued and was taken up by Whitfield. This puts your safe as pre-1865.
    The 4-way boltwork would prevent any attempt at forcing the door
    It is not known of any safes being illegally opened by lock picking during this period.
    Your safe body plates will be vulnerable to the modern disc-cutter but unlikely to justify the use of oxy-fuel cutter.
    An excellent safe for the period.
    Thank you for your thoughts and comments, I can see we agree on a few things. I have seen a few Milners with the dovetail sections preventing spreading of the case. Although this doesn't have those I think it would have to be split open a long way to get the door open due to the centre vertical throw bolts.

    But there is a problem with your dating, if you look back a page or two I left a photo of the inner transfer, this is clearly original to both the paint and the door. Yet their claims for Prize Medals are very clearly dated, the last one being 1885, therefore this safe must postdate that year or at least be concurrent with the time of their printing. !!!!!

    However one of the things that has made me wonder is the dovetail construction of the banding, I would have thought by this time that formed bands would have been available. So between the two things there is a degree of possible error.

    The only other possibility would be the safe being returned to Whitfield's, maybe a trade in, or an overhaul and in so doing it got the current sticker stuck on the inside, who can say. It would therefore allow the safe to be far older than previously thought. thus could then agree with your dating.............can of worms isn't it.

    Thank you for the information on the fire resisting composition, nice to know these things.

    Ah yes being a metal worker (rtrd), I know full well I could get into this safe in a variety of ways, but all of them being totally destructive and I guess this is why insurance companies don't like them. However insurance companies always find a reason not to pay up don't they or try damned hard not to.

    In truth the best safe is one they cannot find. Because they will all fail given time and perseverance.
    Cheers, Steve

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    599
    Country: Bulgaria

    Default

    To anybody who knows what he is doing, those old safes present no difficulty to opening.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Aberdeenshire
    Posts
    336
    Country: Great Britain

    Default

    [QUOTE=Steve48;29062]Thank you for your thoughts and comments, I can see we agree on a few things. I have seen a few Milners with the dovetail sections preventing spreading of the case. Although this doesn't have those I think it would have to be split open a long way to get the door open due to the centre vertical throw bolts.

    A possible explanation for my error in dating due to the anti-wedging blocks could be that they were not considered necessary having 4-way boltwork.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	19735 However something still bothers me. The original photograph strikes me as being of one of the very earliest Whitfield safes, particularly the carriages and centres. Most of the later Whitfields I've seen have identical carriages to Milners. Whether they were supplied by Milners or just used the same supplier I don't know.
    Incidentally they were bought by Milners just after the last war.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	19736 More trivia and lock stuff.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Bransgore
    Posts
    30
    Country: England

    Default Something of a conundrum

    Hi Safeman,

    "Quote":-- However something still bothers me. The original photograph strikes me as being of one of the very earliest Whitfield safes, particularly the carriages and centres. Most of the later Whitfield's I've seen have identical carriages to Milners. Whether they were supplied by Milners or just used the same supplier I don't know. Incidentally they were bought by Milners just after the last war.""

    I can only agree with your thoughts. I have restored a great many things from the nineteenth century and the look of this safe together with its early form of construction all appear earlier than the dates given on that sticker. I will be having a close look at that soon, and maybe there is something underneath it.

    I do not know your terminology, could you please enlighten me to "Carriages and Centres".

    Thanks again for your thoughts, it is only by sharing in this manner that we learn. Steve.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Aberdeenshire
    Posts
    336
    Country: Great Britain

    Default

    [QUOTE=Steve48;29071]Hi Safeman

    I do not know your terminology, could you please enlighten me to "Carriages and Centres".


    Steve,
    Carriages and Centres are the works terms for the door pivot mechanism, the carriage being attached to the body and the centre to the door. Milner are more or less alone in using ‘hinges’ which have much greater security strength of attachment but don’t allow for easy removal of a door when having to lighten a safe to comply with a ‘safe loading’ limit. The Carriage is also referred to as ‘The Lump’ when giving dimensions i.e. depth 24” including handles and lump.
    Most of the cheaper Victorian safes have the carriage as a built up extension of the top and bottom body plate which can be easily hammered clear of the pivot pin on the centre allowing the door to be removed backwards.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bash burgled.jpg  

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Bransgore
    Posts
    30
    Country: England

    Default Thank you for that Safeman

    [QUOTE=safeman;29077]
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve48 View Post
    Hi Safeman

    I do not know your terminology, could you please enlighten me to "Carriages and Centres".


    Steve,
    Carriages and Centres are the works terms for the door pivot mechanism, the carriage being attached to the body and the centre to the door. Milner are more or less alone in using ‘hinges’ which have much greater security strength of attachment but don’t allow for easy removal of a door when having to lighten a safe to comply with a ‘safe loading’ limit. The Carriage is also referred to as ‘The Lump’ when giving dimensions i.e. depth 24” including handles and lump.
    Most of the cheaper Victorian safes have the carriage as a built up extension of the top and bottom body plate which can be easily hammered clear of the pivot pin on the centre allowing the door to be removed backwards.

    I see, and your photo does show a serious vulnerability. I had good reason to examine this particular safe as my ideal would have been to remove the door for complete restoration. It is however impossible without incurring serious realignment issues later. Or should I say shooting ones self in the foot.

    Basically the carriage blocks are in a way similar to carpentry, each block is made up of two layers, taking the top one, the bottom layer is halved into the top strap, and its upper layer must be riveted to the that bottom layer, therefore attacking it would only serve to bend it down and jamming all together, this would make entry more or less impossible.

    The centre, was dowelled to the door in at least two places and finally riveted in place with two seriously large rivets. All of which are just visible after removing the paint.

    Due to this state of affairs I have been feeding it with oil off an on for a while now as I doubt it has been lubricated in a century.

    Looking at these hinges or whatever we call them, they are seriously robust. The size of this safe minus its handles is 18&5/8" wide by 19&3/4 deep and 24&1/4 tall, all imperial inches.

    Thank you for the info, Steve

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    52
    Country: France

    Default

    milners look i find. a beauty. felicitations !

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    599
    Country: Bulgaria

    Default

    Steve, I am not exactly sure what you mean when you talk about construction of the carriages and jamming the door with them. An attack on the "hinges" will not get you into a safe. The door is held secure by dog bolts.

    I wish I had $100 for every safe I have seen which has been attacked in this way. With an old one it usually means that they are scrapped.

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