“High Class Hand Safe” – Vintage steel-construction strongbox (Ca. 1930)

Here’s something you don’t see every day.

“High Class Hand Safe”

This beast is the “High Class Hand Safe”, although it don’t look that high class, and it sure as hell ain’t a safe!

I bought this at the local flea-market after managing to knock down the price from the seller who didn’t want to have to lug it all the way home again. This charming object is a solid steel, Japanese-made cashbox. Prewar, ca 1920-1930. It’s extremely solid and very strong. To unlock it, you need the key and the combination. It comes with space for banknotes, cheques, papers and cash. And two keys. One to unlock the box, and one to wind up the alarm-bells inside!

The box is extremely rugged and dare I say it, bomb-proof. The clockwork bell-alarm inside the box comes with two settings:

Setting #1: The bell rings whenever the box is unlocked. And that’s all it does.
Setting #2: The bell rings whenever the box is unlocked. Or, whenever the box is moved! So if you try and pick it up and run away with it, the alarm goes off, and it is LOUD! Kinda handy feature if I ever take this to an antiques fair and someone tries to steal the money I made from selling my bric-a-brac! Hahahaha!!

It’s an absolute charmer and certainly very cute. I’ve seen a similar one which belonged to a family friend, but they’re not as uncommon as the seller would have one believe. Although I have seen them in better, and in much worse condition than this, online.

Dad’s always wanted a safe – one of those huge old antique things which you could hide a dead body inside. Well it ain’t a safe, but it sure as hell is a strongbox. Without a key or some way to pick the lock, you couldn’t open this thing. And even then, you still need the combination (which thankfully, I do have!)

Maybe this’ll do until someone dies and leaves us a safe to inherit.

Curiouser and curiouser…here’s an identical strongbox owned by a family friend. I photographed this back in May, when I was visiting Penang, Malaysia:


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