Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Vanished Makes: Cole Steel Equipment Company, Inc., New York

I have a well-made metal file card index in my shop that I use to keep pieces of rubber for various projects.



Cole Steel once boasted that it was world-famous for filing cabinets, office chairs, steel desks, blueprint cabinets, shelving units, storage cabinets and pronto files.  From what I've read, their products were of high quality.


1957
The Cole Steel Equipment Company was founded in 1933 in New York City.  The company prospered to such an extent that they were able to purchase, in 1949, the main plant of the former York Safe and Lock Company in York, Pennsylvania.  (This company dated back to 1882, becoming a premier maker of heavy safes and, during WWII, an important producer of the Bofors gun.  After its founder died in 1942, the company floundered and was bought up by the Levine brothers, who owned Diebold, the second biggest maker of safes and vaults in the US.  In this endeavour, they may have been helped by Elliot Ness, the former "Untouchable" who eventually became Diebold's Chairman of the Board.  For the full story, read Elliot Ness Cracks the York Safe & Lock Company)  The Cole Steel Equipment Company also offered a typewriter in the 1950's, a German ABC marketed as the Cole Portable




As the decades progressed, the company failed to modernize and profits declined.  The company was absorbed into Litton Industries in 1963 and eventually vanished.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting read, noticed they made verry strong cabinetry when they were in operation.

Anonymous said...

I still use the large desk and credenza shown in the Cole Steel Ad above. I think that it will last forever. What a blast from the past.

Anonymous said...

I have a cole steel equipment co. file cabinet with a drawer that is closed using a combination lock. We have no idea what the combination is. It would be interesting to find out what is inside that drawer.

Anonymous said...

I have a small cole steel box that my Father used in the 1940"s to hold money from school events & concessions.
Still works & I cherish it even though it is probably worthless. It was his & he used it because he was a school
principal & coach. Very heavy

north dakota farmer said...

I have a 3 drawer cole steel filing cabinet with a side door which encloses a safe.I have the numbers for the combination and the key to open the side door. It was my fathers and when he passed in 2001 I obtained it. High quality and like new. They don't make them like this anymore- if they did- most couldn't afford it.

Anonymous said...

I purchased a Cole Steel filing cabinet with a built in combo lock. I accidentally closed it shut before I could take a look at resetting the lock. Long story short, lock was CRAP popped it open with a thin flat pry bar with almost no resistance. Locking bar was thin pot metal. Thought I was going to dent something up, but the cabinet itself only suffered a little paint loss ;)

Anonymous said...

We have a 3 drawer Cole-Steel filing cabinet with a side door wich encloses a safe. We have the key to open drawers and side door but we need the lock for the safe. Can you supply us that kind of lock ???
Micheline Laurin
Cat-Man Industry Inc.
mlaurin@entreprisecatman.com

The Duke said...

Oh, come on, Cat-man! We're bloggers, not suppliers. Read the posts!

MacadamiaRanch said...

I have one that belonged to my father. Unfortunately NO ONE in the family knows the combination. You have to call a locksmith that deals with safes which are hard to find.

Patryce Britton said...

I bought a Cole-Steel chair at an estate sale this weekend for $5. Very excited about reupholstering it. The seat springs feel like they're in pretty good shape. The frame has some rust but not too bad. Original upholstery has a tear and is pretty grubby.

jcs said...

We have a Cole-Steel cabinet with safe. We can't get the safe open with the combination that we have and it is suppose to be correct. Are these 3 or 4 numbers on the combination and which direction do you go?
Thanks,

The Duke said...

Sorry, no idea. You'd have to consult a locksmith.

ravi ravada said...

Hi we have a cabinet with combination locking system safe. ND we do not have the number to open. Will you please help us in opening the safe.

ravi ravada said...

We are situated in Minnesota dist.

Mister G said...

Your best bet is going to your local locksmith, I think.

Unknown said...

Theres some kind of 6 didget number printed on the safe that can b used to find combo