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Antique Safes/Reliable Safe


I read your description to open our old safe. The person who knew how to open it died and left us with nothing but a cryptic reference instead of a number. I will try this again, but, if all else fails, how hard is it for a relative amateur to drill in and discover the combination?   And/or do you know anyone within range of Portage, WI 53901?


Unfortunately, people do "CODE" information like combinations.   Unless you can decode what they have done, you are stuck with a pretty worthless combination.  One thought though, assuming that they coded each number of the combination similarly (for instance added 25 to each number), if you set up a spread sheet, starting with the known numbers, and adding 1 to each number, until you have 100 combinations, you might be able to figure out which one opens it.   If they used a variation - for instance +5 to the first, -10 to the second and +15 to the third, you could be trying numbers until the cows come home and not get it.

My best recommendation would be to have you contact a safe technician to have them open the safe without damaging it.

First off, I NEVER recommend this type of work as a DIY project for the same reason that I NEVER recommend using locksmiths for safe work.   Lack of training, knowledge and/or tools can result in a damaged or destroyed safe.   While your Reliable Safe may not be an antique, it is certainly a collectible.   Any damage done to the safe will severely ruin its value.

Secondly, Other than the correct dialing sequences for a lock, I do not give out any opening information for obvious security and liability reasons.   I have no way of knowing who you are, what your relationship to the safe is, and/or your authorization to work on the safe.   This would apply even if you were a bonafide locksmith or safe technician.

I do have several safe technicians for you to choose from, and I've listed them in order of preference, not how close they are to you.   You can discuss their fees and intended opening methods to decide who you would rather use.   Note:  If you can take the safe to them, you would save any mobile service or trip charges, which may be significant.

Professional Safe & Lock service     85 miles
414 327 5625          John Soderland
5123 West Howard Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin  53220

Chuck's Lock & Safe Service          19 miles
608 254 2792          Chuck Hegel
3851 8th ave
Wisconsin Dells, WI   53965

Locks and Unlocks, Inc          
608-877-4357          Jake Matteson
P.O. Box 59
Stoughton, WI 53589

Good luck with the safe, hope one of these guys works out.  

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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

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