Antique Safes/Safe


QUESTION: My father passed away and left me the combination to his safe..he opened it three days before passing with the combo... I CAN NOT GET IT!!!!! Really??? LOL...Can you help me..It is aSafe Cabinet Labrotory Inspected safe #28393

ANSWER: Shannon , post a close up picture of the dial and the instructions you were given.  If you want change the numbers.  You never know who might be watching.  LOL  I will try to make sense of it.  Doug

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QUESTION: right 4 times to 71
left 3 times to 6
right 2 times ti 61
left to 3

Well it looks correct for a Yale 3 wheel.  The last step should bring the dial to a complete stop.  It may or may not occur at 3, it is the dial stoppage that is important.  There may be wear in the lock, meaning the numbers may not be lining up quite right.  Try variations of slightly before or past the number lines on each number.  But more likely you are not going to each number the correct amount of times.  This a very common mistake and occurs when dialing to your second and/or third numbers.  "left 3 times to 6" means exactly that.  Not past 0, not past 71.  Pass 6 twice and stop the 3rd time you come to it.  ie left 3 times to 6.  If this doesn't help, it is time to call for a safe tech.  Doug

Antique Safes

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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 No longer current.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

Past/Present Clients

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