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Antique Safes/direction of dial


I have an.old safe built by, SAFECABINET LABORATORY. ser.# S1039, its on a metal tag,  centered on the backside. Inside it has a #, 3951 M.E. SAFE. I have the 4-digit combination, but cant figure out the #dial rotation sequence. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time,,, jim

Jim, a 4 digit combination?  Typically a Yale 3 wheel lock and here is an example of a sample combination.          Right 4 times to 65          Left  3 times to 15          Right 2 times to 45          Left to Stop          This last "Left to stop" is where the lock bolt retracts allowing the bolt handle to turn.  Substitute your numbers for mine in this example and give it try.   Doug  

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Doug MacQueen


This unusual and highly innovative safe from the later 1800's is a Corliss. William, the much younger brother of George Corliss of steam engine fame, spent several years perfecting this design and it was first displayed at the 1876 Philadelphia U.S. Centennial Exhibition. I do extensive patent research helping me in the study of antique U.S. safes and safe locks. Repairs and part making for antique U.S. safes of the early to mid 1800's, both key and combination. Also the study of early round door chest designs up to and including cannonball safes of the early 1900's.


40 years in the lock and safe trade with a stint in bank service work. Openings, repairs and moving of safes of all types.

Charter member Safe and Vault Technicians Association SAVTA, National Safemans Association NSO, National Antique Safe Association NASA. No longer current.

SAVTA monthly magazine

CMS (Certified Master Safecracker- NSO) and CPS (Certified Professional Safe Technician - SAVTA)

Awards and Honors
2nd place national combination manipulation contest 1986 and now in 2016 1st place

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