You are here:

Antique Safes/old yorksafe


york safe by yale
york safe by yale  
i have an old york safe, made by yale. it is 33" tall x 26" wide x 20" deep. it is "heavy"  i have an old mosler cabinet safe that weighs about 1200 lbs but i think this smaller york is heavier.  anyway, i got it from a friend with  "no" combination available. fortunately the door was open. i spent about a half hour with the back side of the lock open figuring out the combination. i tried it several times and it unlocked. so of coarse i closed the door anf found out how it really locks. it reminded me of water tight doors {hatches} on ships. so as i get to the last # which is 95 or 0 as i slowly come to 95 and proceed to 0 i can feel it and hear it drop in! however to turn the wheel clockwise stays locked. i can't turn it. its not like my mosler where i turn the dial hard and move the lever and it opens. that wheel has to turn and i can't figure out what i am doing wrong


This is the York, 400 line, 6 lug, single bolt door, with 4 relocking bolts, the lock is probably a Yale 2421Y series.   Note:   Yale is ONLY the lock manufacturer, NOT the safe manufacturer which is York.
While your Mosler cabinet safe is probably just a fire resistive container, this is a burglary resistive safe, made of THICK steel with a concrete clading for extra weight.

In order for the door to rotate, the lock bolt MUST be retracted completly.   If the lock appears to be unlocking, but the door will not rotate to open, you probably have not retracted the lock bolt completely.   If the lock bolt is jammed, won't retract, the door may be binding the bolt.  Try rotating right/left slightly to free it up.

Hopefully you have not activated one of the relock bolts by not reassembling the door or lock correctly.

The correct dialing sequence for this Yale lock should be:
4 times left to the first number,
3 times right to the second number,
2 times left to the third number,
1 time right until the dial stops (should be around 90)

Note:  Left is counter clockwise, Right is clockwise.  DO NOT count the revolutions of the dial, count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

If you still can't get it open, I would recommend having it checked out by safe technician, not a locksmith.

Hope this helps, but generally mechanical issues require a hands on diagnostics and solutions.

Antique Safes

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 40 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of two Tilton & McFarland Safes from the 1860's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.


40 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf

Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association

Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2013 Listed in AllExperts top 50 Experts. All Experts Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service area is Northern California - Fresno to Oregon, including western Nevada

©2016 All rights reserved.