If you have researched H. H. Warner to any small degree or, for that matter, followed this blog with any regularity, you know that the presence of an iron safe as the trademark image on his patent medicines is no accident. It is, in fact, a rather clever piece of branding used by Warner to allude to his business experience and to imply that his product was beneficial to the user. Needless to say, it worked. While Warner’s Safe Cure and fireproof safe businesses overlapped in the 1880’s, the safe business was on the wane. That is not to say that it was not a successful business. Indeed, Warner made his first fortune in selling safes and was wealthy before the first bottle of Safe Cure ever hit the streets.
Every once in a while, one of the original Warner’s iron safes will surface. Indeed, I profiled one about four years ago as being “The Ultimate Go-With.” Just recently, another appeared for sale on eBay. This particular safe is in pretty good shape, considering that it has been around now for over 130 years. It is marked with the familiar “Mosler, Bahmann & Co. along with “H. H. Warner, Gen’l Ag’t”. Even more interesting is the history of this particular safe. It ended up in Tombstone, Arizona. That’s right, the same Tombstone that was the site of one of the most infamous gun fights at the OK Corral involving Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.
The seller, Karl, has been kind enough to allow me to use his pictures with this post. His eBay listing also provides a history on Wyatt Earp. This just goes to show you that there was, in fact, actual Warner’s Safes before the patent medicines ever graced store shelves in 1879. Unlike Warner, however, the Mosler Safe Company survived into the 21st Century and continued to produce safes. Pretty neat.