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Antique Safes/Diebold filing safe


QUESTION: I have an older Diebold filing safe that has not been opened in about 10 years.   We do not have the combination; however, we would like to have it opened and serviced for continued use.

I have attached an image of the handles and dial.  The safe stands about 74" tall, 48" wide, and 30" deep.  It has cast iron wheels.

What would be my best option for opening the safe without damage?  I am located near Akron, Ohio.

Thank you,


If this is a Diebold Filing Safe (thinner wall model), I would expect to find Diebold's K type lock installed, which is similar to a Yale OB series lock.   This three wheel lock has the capability of about 1,000,000 possible combinations, so you have two options,
1.  You can test dial all of the combinations until you find the correct one, or
2.  You can have a safe tech from a local safe company open the safe for you.   Unfortunately the safe cracker that I would normally direct you to, in your area, died last week, which limits other options.
I would recommend your contacting a local safe company to discuss having the safe opened by their safe technician.

I've got a couple of companies that I would recommend that you call.   Both should be able to open and repair your safe without damaging it, though I've no personal knowledge of either company, so I recommend that you discuss the work with both before contracting either of them.

American Safe & Vault Service
Cleveland, OH 44145
440-779-6066,          Dan Terrigno

Belle Security
Cleveland, Ohio  44102
330-323-4198          Michael Potter

Hope this helps,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Terry, Thank you for your quick reply.  The information you provided is very helpful.   I appreciate your effort.

Can you verify for me that the lock installed (most likely), would be 4 numbers?  That is:

Left (ccw) 4 turns to the first #,
right (cw) 3 turns to the second,
left 2 turns to the third,
and right to the last

Also, would I expect the dial to stop on the last number or in a range?

Thank you,


The lock that I would "EXPECT" to find on this safe would be a three wheel lock (plus drive wheel), so the dialing sequence 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 to the fourth number - stop   (this would be the drive wheel, and this number won't change, even if the combination changes.

After STOPPING at the fourth number, turn the handle, the action of the bolt work drives the fence/lever up into the lock - IF the combination was dialed correctly.

NOTE 1:   The dial WILL NOT stop during the last turn, you WILL need to know where the drive wheel is suppose to stop.   You can check for this by trying to turn the handle while turning the dial, the bolt work and lever will provide some pressure on the drive wheel, When you get to its gate, you should feel a momentary release of pressure, or the handle MAY seem to turn just a hair more.
The number on the drive wheel is a constant - while you need to know it, in order to open the lock, because it doesn't change, we do not consider it part of the actual combination.   So in answer to your question, you will have FOUR individual numbers, the fourth one is a set number.

NOTE 2:   This lock could also be operated by turning in the opposite directions, or - RLRL vs LRLR.    While the individual numbers for each wheel may be slightly different, the final turn to place the drive wheel, WILL remain at the same number.

Hope this helps to explain its operation.

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900'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.


44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and 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. Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes". 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 Safe & Vault Technicians Association

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

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 - 2015 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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