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Antique Safes/Hall Safe & Lock Co.


QUESTION: Is it possible to get any information on a Hall Safe & Lock Co. safe #70518.  It is 34"hX22"wX24"deep.  It is currently locked and I have no combination, can it be opened without destroying the safe.  Any idea on age?

Thank You



I can give you some basic info on the safe like: history of the company, approx. age, but in order to answer more detailed questions concerning the safe itself, I would need to see it.

As far as recovering a combination, manufacturers NEVER published or released original combinations for obvious security and liability reasons.   Also over the years the combination may have been changed, so even if you had access to the original combination, there is no gurantee that it would work.

As for the age, we have to "guestimate" based on "knowns", again because factories never published their records.  In an interview in the early 1870's, Joseph Hall claimed to have built 50,000 safes by 1872.   While there is no proof one way or another, we have to use this as a possible/probable starting point.   He also claimed that they were making 15-20 safes per day.   With known work weeks, weekends and holidays, this would give them an average of about 5460 safes per year - so now we have some numbers to work from.   Obviously if items on your safe had any patent dates, this would help to narrow down possible dates of fabrication.

Based on the above information, we can somewhat reliably date of 1875 to 1880 as the years that your safe would have been made between.

Now to your question concerning opening it without destroying it.   Ultimately this depends on you.   While you have several options, if you choose "cost" over maintaining the integrity of an antique safe, it could easily be destroyed or have damage which would severely reduce any potential antique value.

Options include testing all available combinations, and/or having a safe technician from a local safe company open the safe.   Depending on the lock on your safe, it could have anywhere between 1,000,000 to 285,000,000 (yes that is millions) possible combinations.

A professional safe technician "may" be able to open the safe without drilling, however manipulation is never a guarantee, and you may not have anyone in your area who is skilled at it.   Drilling the safe, when done correctly will NOT ruin the safe, or damage anything.   Generally a very small hole is straigically placed into the safe to allow the use of fiberoptics to decode the lock and open the door.   This small hole can easily be repaired.

If done by an untrained safe person or locksmith, your safe could wind up looking like swiss cheese.

Contact a local safe company to determine if they have a safe technician who is trained and knowledgeable with antique safes.   If you don't have one, then let me know where you are located (zipcode), and I'll see who I might know in your area that I would recommend.

Hope this helps,

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

QUESTION: Thank you for your reply.  I am in the Sacramento, Ca. area, would you happen to know anyone in this area that may be able to assist me in opening this safe?

Thank You

Stan Robinson
(916) 303-0209


I was in Sacramento, Citrus Heights and Fair Oaks all day today.   I'm usually in Sac at least one or two days each week, depending on the amount of work.

If you would like me to open your safe, feel free to call me at:   800-326-4224, or email me at   to arrange or schedule service.

I would be more than happy to discuss options with you.  

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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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