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Antique Safes/York Safe


       I have a old York safe that was give to me, it is open has serial numbers, model and I guess safe model, it says to have a key to change lock inside the door, and has a hole you can see a lock tumbler system, on this door it says do not take this off to change combinations, York Safe Chest, Group 1, serial number 18894, than another number on tag 11124A, and a model or style number on front 3725, any ideas on how to change combination or what? Thanks.



Yes, I do know how to change the combination on your safe - though to do it you will need a trained safe technician WITH the correct tools.   As York as been out of business for around 50+ years (acquired by Diebold from the US Navy around 1946, Diebold discontinued the label around 1959 or 60), parts and/or tools are NOT readily available.

Changing combinations is NOT a DIY project, for the same reason that I never recommend using locksmiths for safe work.   Lack of knowledge, training, (and in this case) tools, can result in a really expensive lockout (possibly ruining the safe).

What few tools (like change keys) are available, are generally NOT for sale.   In fact due to the lack of tools even many safe techs might not have the correct ones for your safe.

Bottom line, I would check with a local safe company to have their trained safe tech, do the work.   If you don't have a local safe company, let me know where you and/or the safe are located (zip code) and I'll see who I know and/or would recommend, in your area.

Your other option would be to use the safe as is, though I would NOT recommend closing and locking the door, until after you have verified its proper operation.   If it doesn't operate (with the door open), as smooth as oil, then you probably need to have it serviced anyway, so you are back to having someone who is trained, check it out - service it AND reset the combination.

Hope this helps,

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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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