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Info Request: J. Baum Safe with Yale Lock

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ZTatZAU

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Post Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:31 am

Info Request: J. Baum Safe with Yale Lock

Having been "bitten by the bug" with my first manipulation of a Sentry 1250 safe, I'd like to try my hand on old J. Baum safe that's been in my family for many years. I do know the combination but would like to pretend that I don't and see if I can successfully determine the safe's combination by manipulation or any other suggested method. Before getting started, I'd like to learn as much as I can about the safe and its lock and would appreciate any information anyone can provide on...

1) The age or likely year of manufacture of the safe.

2) The type or model of the safe.

3) The type and model of the Yale lock.

Image

Image

The diameter of the combination dial is 3-3/4" and the distance between the center of the T-handle and the combination dial is about 4-1/8".
The center of the T-handle shows the letter "L" over the number "26540". Is this perhaps a model designation and a serial number?

Any information you can provide will be appreciated! ZT
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bitbuster

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Post Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:08 pm

Re: Info Request: J. Baum Safe with Yale Lock

Lock may be an OB.
"I dream of a world where, chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned."......Ralph Waldo Emerson
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ZTatZAU

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Post Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:01 am

Re: Info Request: J. Baum Safe with Yale Lock

bitbuster wrote:Lock may be an OB.
Thanks so much bitbuster! Your hunch was just what I needed to get started.

I removed the inside cover from the door of my J. Baum safe and compared the lock mechanism to the one shown on pages 16 & 17 of Oldfast's "Safe Chronicles, Part II - Beyond the Lockroom" and my lock is indeed a Yale OB, or perhaps an OBB based on one of the little "tidbits" that Oldfast provided in that thread.

And, "Thank you too Oldfast!", (if you happen to see this thread), for sharing your knowledge and expertise here on this forum!

I learned quite a bit about the Yale OB as well as a lot more than I ever knew about my old J. Baum Safe and its lock. I'll post again soon with my findings, more pictures, and some more questions!

ZT
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ZTatZAU

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Post Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:47 pm

Re: Info Request: J. Baum Safe with Yale Lock

As I replied to bitbuster in a recent PM, I've been storing various documents and valuables in the safe for more than 40 years but after experiencing the thrill of opening my son-in-law's locked Sentry safe, I now view this old J. Baum safe as a great learning tool and I'm trying to learn as much as I can about the safe and its Yale-OB lock.

As for the safe, I'd really like to determine its approximate DOB. I found a Google Group posting by someone describing his 1906 J. Baum safe as having a serial number of 24260. I am fairly sure now that the 26540 marked on the T-handle of my safe is indeed a serial number which makes chronological sense (when compared to the Google Group safe) based on the last patent date on the inside of my safe's door is November 17, 1908. This would put the earliest possible DOB near the end of 1908.

InsideCover
Image

Interestingly however, when I removed the inside cover another number (26998) was etched in the door's concrete. Being also a fan of old firearms, vehicles, and electronics, I do know that component serial numbers don't always match up exactly on a given item, though I did notice that on the Baum safe Oldfast shared on page 16 of his Chronicles -Part II, the number on the handle did match the number etched on the concrete inside the door of his Baum safe.

InsideDoor
Image

Can anyone tell me if, like with many early firearms where a barrel date might differ from a receiver date yet still be original to the rifle, is it likely that a handle taken from a stock of completed handles was installed at the factory on a safe with a different number? Or is it more likely that the handle was replaced on this safe at sometime in it's past?

I'd also like to know if anyone here has any literature or data that cross references Baum serial numbers with approximate dates of manufacture?

Also, as you can see in the photo above, the concrete in the door is quite cracked and damaged. Is this sort of damage common on these old safes? Can, (or should), the damaged concrete be repaired, replaced, or at least stabilized in some way? If so, what would you recommend?

I know that this safe has had somewhat of a rough life being in service and daily use in at least two different boiler companies from the early 1900s to the mid-to-late 1970s. A closer inspection also reveals that during its lifetime, this safe was serviced and repaired most likely by boilermakers rather than by a qualified locksmith. First, the bottom right screw on the inside door cover screw was apparently stripped out at some point in the safe's history and the "in-house boilermaker's solution" was to drill out and re tap a much larger hole in the door to receive a large bolt with a square head to fully secure the cover with whatever they happened to have laying around. There was apparently some thought given to the available depth behind the inside surface of the door as the bolt has been cut down in length hoping not to protrude too deeply. I'm not sure though that their methodology was sufficient as I also noticed some cracks in the bottom corners of the frame of the door that might have been caused when the cut down bolt which may not in fact have been cut short enough impacted the inside front surface of the door.

Perhaps more importantly, as can be seen below, it appears that the "post" (or axle so-to-speak) for the fence lever to rotate on may have broken off at some point with a new post attached to a somewhat crude field fabricated piece of "boiler plate" now supports the weighted fence lever; and another testament to the technically questionable yet resourcefulness of the "in-house can-do boilermakers".

Yale-OB
Image

All the above, of course, is simply speculation on my part and to my untrained eye but I would appreciate any comments, corrections, or other commentary on my inspection and analysis of this safe.

In any case, I realize the safe "is what it is" and in light of the above may not hold much value to a serious collector. But that's OK because I doubt I'd ever consider selling it... or moving it again!. The safe functions sufficiently for my purposes and in it's new role as a teaching tool still holds a lot of value to me.

One more question I have, for those of you here, has to do with the combination and seeing if I can glean something beneficial fro a bit of twirling on this safe. Oldfast mentioned the following in the above mentioned Chronicle thread...

OLDFASTS CRONICLES PART II - Page 16

Oldfast wrote:.
[center]Baum
... Handle turns CW. Proper Dialing Sequence for these: LRL R to Stop...
Image
...
.


I found this to be very interesting and informative as I've always opened this safe with a 4 number RLRL combination; with the fence falling (up) quite audibly upon reaching the 4th number. Do I take it correctly, from what Oldfast has described, that the true combination is actually only three numbers and then, rather than a 4th number, with the dial being turned to the right the fence falls down the sloped entry into the drive cam gate and then stops, on its own, when reaching the straight cut exit of the drive cam gate?

If the above is true, my plan is to try to determine the correct (LRL-R to stop) combination and perhaps even try to change the combination to some meaningful sequence of only 3 numbers as per the other information Oldfast provided.

Again any comments or advice is most welcome! ZT
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Oldfast

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OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer
OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer

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Post Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:17 pm

Re: Info Request: J. Baum Safe with Yale Lock

ZTatZAU wrote:....And, "Thank you too Oldfast!", (if you happen to see this thread), for sharing your knowledge and expertise here on this forum!

Much appreciated. And you are MORE than welcome sir. Safe manipulation has brought so many good positive things into my life. Admittedly, some of my early contributions may have had some underlying motives - 'ego-booster posts', if you will, lol. But today it really is about sharing a passion. And it feels damn good when someone tells me I've helped in some small way. So thank you!

The deep history and age of each safe, though fascinating to me, are areas I'm not of much help with. Someday I'd like to be more knowledgeable in these areas... but for now my studies revolve around opening and servicing. Funny though, the 3 main questions I usually get are 1) how old is it? 2) how much does it weigh? And 3) what's it worth? ...NONE of which I usually know, lol. But... I'll open it if you want!? LOL

----------------------------------------------------

Yes, the true dialing sequence for this lock is L-R-L, then slowly turn R until the dial comes to a solid stop. It is a 3# combination, but people will often include this final turn as a 4th # of the combination... when really it's more of a 'final action' after dialing the combination. Depending on the type of lock, this final action usually does something like retract the bolt, or allows the fence to drop in.

Think of it this way. The incorrect sequence you've been using requires additional turns upon locking. After closing the door, the dial can only be turned LEFT to lift the fence out of the wheels... yet your sequence starts with RIGHT to the first #.

The correct sequence L-R-L allows you to shut the door, turn the dial 4x LEFT to truly lock it (while at the same time setting you up to dial the combo again). The next time you approach it, you've already picked up all wheels going LEFT, so you can simply continue LEFT and stop at the first number.


Happy Spinnin'!
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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ZTatZAU

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Post Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:54 am

Re: Info Request: J. Baum Safe with Yale Lock

Thanks again Oldfast!

I'll be reviewing the info and advice you provided for the Yale OB on pg. 16 & 17 of Chronicles - Part II and look forward to figuring out the correct (LRL-R to stop) combo for this safe. I'll enjoy the practice and have one less number to remember.

ZT
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Hoarder

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Post Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:02 am

Re: Info Request: J. Baum Safe with Yale Lock

Cracked concrete is completely normal from my experience, all my safe doors (with concrete) are cracked somewhere. What's not normal is the cracked cast iron door! Hehehe, One would see that from things like casting defects, percussive blows, and ice. That's a big bolt in there too, been off a few times. So, you crack it or have the combo?
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ZTatZAU

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Joined: Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:09 am

Post Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:00 am

Re: Info Request: J. Baum Safe with Yale Lock

Hoarder wrote:Cracked concrete is completely normal from my experience, all my safe doors (with concrete) are cracked somewhere. What's not normal is the cracked cast iron door! Hehehe, One would see that from things like casting defects, percussive blows, and ice. That's a big bolt in there too, been off a few times. So, you crack it or have the combo?
Thanks for your reply Hoarder!

There was no need to crack this one. This safe was used in a family business and I've been opening and closing it since the 1970's with, what turns out to be, a reversed 4 number RLRL combination instead of the correct LRL-R to stop combo! (Thanks Oldfast!). I've now determined the correct 3 number LRL-R combo and working with the dial to see if I can pick up the CP(s) or any of the known gates. So far no joy but I haven't yet given up!

Whenever you do see cracked or damaged concrete in a safe door, do you ever try to repair, replace, or stabilize it in any way?

I discussed the other issues in my second post of this thread and while I've always been aware of the large bolt in the inside cover, I never noticed the cracks in the bottom of the door frame until just recently when I started digging into the safe for practice.

From what I've gathered (serial number-wise), this is likely a fairly early J. Baum safe. I'm guessing c. late 1908 - 1910. I'm hoping someone will still chime in here with a definitive DOB based on it's serial number... either 26540 or 26998. I recall reading several threads here on KP where "Altashot" was able to date Chub, Mosler, Taylor and JJ safes by their serial number "according to the book", but I don't know "what book" he was referring to and haven't seen any new posts from Altashot on KP since last March. Is Altashot still around? Does anyone else have or know what book he may have been referring to who could date this Baum safe?

And I'm still wondering if the Gravity Fence support plate on this safe is a make-shift "field repair" or could possibly be original to an early Baum safe. Can anyone help with that? I've copied the photo again below...

Image

ZT
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Hoarder

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Post Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:33 am

Re: Info Request: J. Baum Safe with Yale Lock

Me personally, I've let the cracked concrete go untouched aside from blowing out the chips and dust. For the rest of it, the pros on here can offer far more than I can. I was just curious if you could feel anything when you cracked it... On my OBB safe, I could apply force to the wheels to crack it.
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ZTatZAU

Familiar Face

Posts: 22

Joined: Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:09 am

Post Sun Jun 16, 2019 4:45 am

Re: Info Request: J. Baum Safe with Yale Lock

Hoarder wrote:Me personally, I've let the cracked concrete go untouched aside from blowing out the chips and dust. For the rest of it, the pros on here can offer far more than I can. I was just curious if you could feel anything when you cracked it... On my OBB safe, I could apply force to the wheels to crack it.

This is all very new to me Hoarder. Please explain what you mean by applying force to the wheels when the fence is gravity driven and no direct connection to the T-handle?

ZT
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MartinHewitt

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Post Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:18 am

Re: Info Request: J. Baum Safe with Yale Lock

The books: From some manufacturers ther are for some years the production date still available. So the serial can directly be converted to a date.

Two serials: Mabe someone built one safe from the good parts of two safes.

Handle pressure: While this is a gravity fence a pressure on the handle might still result in a down/upward pressure.
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt

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