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Antique Safes/dial pack info


m333b ?
m333b ?  
QUESTION: I had a friend come to me because he knows I was a locksmith in my former life.  It's been years since I tackled a project like this so I thought I would reach out for a little help.  He knows that the safe works properly as he used to use it in his store but lost the combination.  The picture attached is the exact same safe he has, according to him.  The defining point would be that he said the picture is exactly the same.  I confirmed with him some other points such as the T handle and the general shape.  What I'd like to know is what type of dial pack that this might be?  From my experience it would be a gravity feed.  I found in my archives a copy of Reed Manual of Safes 10th printing and found a few things that jumped out at me, one is that it may be either an American or Hall T handle.  From doing a bit of research online the number meilink-m333b.  Can you confirm that this is that model?  I don't know if meilink has a standard set of factory combinations I can try--of course I will try the standard combinations that I will not spell out online.  If you could possibly give me any and all try out combinations that may work.  I believe that this is a 3 wheel beginning with the left turn and retracting on the right turn (I am just spieling on like this so you know I am not a complete newbie).  I also have some experience with manipulating safes, and of course the old ones are often far easier to manipulate.  I have a copy of Techniques of Safe and Vault Manipulation and also have a copy of the National Locksmith's Guide to Manipulation (1988 by Robert Gene Sieveking).  I own an old Norris safe with a removeable curb and Empire handle from 1904.  I've seen pictures of it online with the same green paint, you probably know the type.  I mention this in case I can use it as a reference in any way.  You might ask why I might bother?  Because I just moved in to my new place and water started pouring through the roof--the owner of the Meilink owns a roofing company and was here right away plus I've known this gentleman for many years and he is a good friend. So in closing any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated, bearing in mind that I have a copy of Reed Manual of Safes so you can always refer to that manual regarding plate numbers or page numbers.  Thank you very much, looking forward to hearing from you.  I will let you know how it works out, would love to take a picture of it open and send to you!  Your friend from the north, Canadian Chris.

ANSWER: Chris,

Having the same safe and a similar safe are two different things, just as someone thinking because a Mercedes and a VW are both German made cars that they are the "same" thing.

First rule of opening safes, or for that matter ANY lock, is identification, identification, identification.   This is NOT one of those industries where "the customer is always right"!   Usually the opposite is true.

Meilink used several variations of Eagle locks on these earlier safes, so the lock could be one of 3 or 4 different locks, though I would suspect it of being their two wheel lock with rear mounted driver, gravity drop lever.   As this should also be a 50 number dial, roughly this gives you 2500 possible combinations to try.

Dialing sequence should be:

3 times right to the first number,
2 times left to the second number,
1 time right until the dial stops - pull handle to open.   (handle does not turn).

Hope this helps,

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

QUESTION: Thank you for your response.  I am thinking it is an Eagle 2067 drop in the bottom which is a gravity feed but there is also the Eagle 2071 which drops in from the top.  When you say a rear mounted driver do I understand you clearly that the driver would be the furthest away from the dial and the first to see when taking off the back plate? It seems to me from the Reed manual that the 2067 and 2071 are the only ones that have 2 wheels plus one.  There is also the Eagle 2089 which from the diagram appears to have the driver closest to the dial.  If I apply pressure to the bolt via the handle I should be able to spin the dial and not hear the drop, is this the recommended procedure for determining that it's a gravity drop? The Eagle 2058 is a curb style with two wheels on the curb and the driver closest to the dial.  This is what I thought it was just from my experience looking at the lock.  Do you know the Eagle # for the suggestion in your first response?  The options in the Reed manual are 2058, 2061, 2067, 2071, 2081, 2089. I am going to go in the next couple of days and want to be armed with as much info as I can.  I will see if I can open it with the information that you have and are going to send me.  From there I'll take some pictures and some diagnostics and I think I'll be far better off after that, it's just some distance from where I live so I wanted to give it an honest try before simply just going to take a look at it.  And yes, I whole-heartedly agree about things looking the same and being completely different.  Thanks for your time I really do appreciate it.


You are over think this thing.  If you are planing to "manipulate" the lock, then the ACTUAL model of the lock is NOT as important as your initial steps of identifying what you are feeling and seeing.  Once you have the safe, in hand, THEN worry about what type of lock is on the safe, and proceed appropriately.   It doesn't appear to me that you have actually LOOKED at the safe, or you would have provided an actual photo for us to work on.   Second you have provided me with NO USEFUL information about said safe.  Such as how many wheels you feel (pickup), how many numbers are on the dial, and distance from the center of the handle to center of the dial.

Based on the PHOTO that you included, that YOUR friend insisted is an identical safe, I've given you the information that I believe you will find.   I'm not sure why YOU are second guessing the information which YOU provided me with.   As I don't have a crystal ball (my wife broke it when she killed my money tree), I have to go by the info provided - all you have given me is a photo of a Meilink safe, and NOT even the one you may be dealing with.

I've actually compared the PHOTO which you provided, with photos of hundreds of Meilink safes to ensure I was giving you information concerning the PHOTO you were asking about, and in every example I came up with the same lock.
Based on your current conversation, I assume that you don't believe that this is the correct safe.   I originally stated that I never believe someone, until "I" actually see the safe, as generally they are wrong about what they have.   We open 3-5 safes a day, EVERY day, and rarely can an owner give me correct info about what they actually have.   Nothing you indicate has convinced me to change my original identification of the lock.

Take the information that you have concerning EACH lock in your listing, and when you get to the safe, apply that information to make a determination about what you have.   Regardless of the training that you have, if you can't make a detemination on the spot, of the correct lock, and the correct direction or action to proceed, then you probably shouldn't be taking on this job regardless of your friendship.

At this point, all I can say is good luck.   I've provided you with the information that I believe is necessary to help you.   I've gone back and relooked at my photos of various safes and still come up with exactly the same original conclusion.   You will have to determine what you have when you get to the safe, and have a hands on.   Obviously take a copy of the photo that you have provided me with, so that YOU can compare it to the actual safe - hopefully it is the same - exactly, if not - then chances are the info I've provided you with is also probably incorrect.  I can only provide information based on what is provided me.  

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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

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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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