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Empire Safe Company

coerl21

master brummie
A belated Happy New Year to everyone!

I've just come into possession of a small safe manufactured by the Birmingham Safe Company. I can't find any reference to it on the web. Does anyone know anything about them? I have to add that I have nothing of value to keep in the safe - but my aunt used to keep the tea and sugar in the piano - so perhaps I should continue with the family foibles and keep mine in the safe!
 

Shera

true brummie
the empire safe co. was at water street around 1903/04

im sure mikejee will find more when he sees your post
 
W

Wendy

Guest
Coerl29 I am as bad as you I went to Argyle Solicitors in Tamworth the other day it was founded in 1749. While waiting I noticed a very old strong room door with a plaque on it stating Birmingham there I was trying to read it through several coats of paint. I wonder if they thought I was 'caseing the joint'....lol
 

pollypops

master brummie
Wendy, didn't you have your camera with you? You could have taken a photo - that would have really worried them! lol
 

coerl21

master brummie
Wendy there's one thing for sure you wouldn't be taking it away - my safe is 2' x 15" and I can just about lift it off the floor! I think I'm obsessed with dates - somewhere in my house I've an old silver spoon (probably worth 1/6) but I'm so frustrated that I can't read the hallmarks - partly wear on the spoon but mainly wear on my eyes! Paul
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Combining Sheera’s work with mine:

1890-6 Antcliff, Harry Richard, safe maker, Vulcan safe works ,43 Water St
1897-5 Empire Safe Co,The Vulcan Safe Works, Water St (Harry Richard Antcliff prop) not the same Vulcan safe works as no 43 water St. , but on the opposite side
1908- 21 33A, Empire Safe Co ,Lower Tower street St (Harry Richard Antcliff prop.)


1930 - 1950 at 250 - 254 Heneage st. By 1950 they have collected a clutch of names-
British Burnside,fireproof safe mkrs, Wakefield W. H.& Co. fireproof safe mkrs
And Birmingham Safe Co. Ltd. fireproof safe mkrs.
1955 not listed and no company listed at the Heneage st address

Before this in 1884 the works at 43 Water st were owned by Josiah White, flre proof safe manufacturer. In 1888 no 43 Water St was not listed.
It’s a bit of a coincidence that you first thought it was made by the Birmingham safe co, and that they also produced safes under that name. The safe hasn’t got both written names on it has it?
Mike
 

coerl21

master brummie
Mike, thank you for that very comprehensive reply. There's a brass plaque on the front "EMPIRE SAFE CO - BIRMINGHAM" - I got my words mixed up! However on the inside of the door is a large paper label with a picture of a steamer - and in very small print (which I missed) is "M'CAW STEVENSON & OWR RELEASE 33920" Paul
 

Wingnut

New Member
Hi., I just spotted this forum post on 'tinterweb whilst investigating a safe I have discovered in my home.

Am I right to assume, from your posting, that this safe is circa 1884?

IMG_0887.JPGIMG_0888.JPG

Steve.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Josiah White is listed as a fireproof safe maker at 42 Water St from 1879, though he is listed previously as a japanner at the same address. By 1884 he was listed as being at both 42 & 43, having taken over the works of the brass founder next door, though i doubt if the labels on his safe were altered. So it would be reasonable to date it from 1879-about 1887
 

Wingnut

New Member
Thank you mikejee. Very interesting. Thanks for the confirmation of date range. It's open so with that confirmation of age I think it has just become a project. I think I will undertake some careful restoration to preserve a little piece of Brum history.
 
W

Wendy

Guest
Welcome to the forum Wingnut. What a lovely find as you say a nice piece of Brummy history and what a great project! Don't let our Astoness see it she will want it for her garden collection..ha ha.
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
Hi., I just spotted this forum post on 'tinterweb whilst investigating a safe I have discovered in my home.

Am I right to assume, from your posting, that this safe is circa 1884?

View attachment 74318View attachment 74319

Steve.
oh wow wingnut what a find...can i ask where about in the house you found it...i was just about to say if it needs a good home let me know but i see you are going to keep and restore it lol...well done you..oh sorry and a warm welcome to the forum...

lyn
 

Wingnut

New Member
Hi Astoness (Lyn). I was refurbishing my house and decided to move and replace the staircase. It was hidden behind a panel in the dark recesses of the old staircase. I'm pleased I found the forum because googling "J White safe" was getting me nowhere. Thanks for the welcome. Sorry you won't be able to put it in your garden.
 

Jannerman

New Member
Hello, I've been trying to get a bit of history on this old safe that we have and found the best references to Birmingham made safes on this forum. Could anyone enlighten me to its origins? Thank you :)

DSC_0404.jpg
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Presumably made at the Vulcan safe works (see post 9 on this thread), though trade names often survive after the company name is changed, som it xould be by that company in another incarnation.
 
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