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Antique Safes/old safe , has not been open in 15 + years


QUESTION: i lost combo. everyone around hre is too quick to drill it and destroy it. would like to open it , restore it and use it. single brass dial only markings are on the dial, patd oct.2.88
i remember it was 3 numbers then went to righ to retract the bolt. any info or names of someone to get in it would be helpfull. norfolk va. area.
28 in high 18.5 in wide 17.5 deep

ANSWER: Keith,

I used to come to Virginia fairly regularly when I was with the Army - specifically Ft. Eustis.   When I would come for any length of time, I would bring my tools hoping to do some work for some local lock or safe companies.   What I discovered is that there are VERY FEW trained safe men in Virginia, and most of the locksmiths would indicate "I've heard of safes but never worked on one"!   It simply boggled my mind!!!    The reason that most are in such a hurry to drill your safe, is that they simply have no training, and have no idea what they are doing.

Note:   Drilling the safe, when done correctly, by a trained safe technician WILL NOT damage or ruin the safe, and the single, very small hole can be easily repaired.   If done correctly it will NOT damage the safe or lock, so no repair parts will be required.

Unfortunately, the nearest companies that I have to recommend are going to be quite a distance away.   Fortunately, your little antique safe is small enough that you should be able to load it into a car and take it to a competent, professional safe technician.

Possibly the nearest would be:

Talton's Safe Company
5924 Fayetteville Road
Raleigh, NC 27603.
Phone: 919-779-3545       Ray Talton

Not only is Ray a professional, but he also does some restoration work on antique safes, so he will take care of it.

The next couple companies are going to be in the New York area, so I would recommend that you start with Ray.

Note:   If your safe has a 100 number dial (three wheel lock), then the dialing sequence is probably going to 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 until the dial stops.

If your safe has a 60 number dial (two wheel lock) then the dialing sequence is probably going to be:

3 times right to the first number,
2 times left to the second number,
1 time right until the dial stops.  (possibly your 3rd number)

I don't recall seeing many 100 number dials with two wheels (and the drive wheel), so the above should be good sequences to try.

If you have a two wheel lock, then you basically only have about 3600 combinations to test.   I would try this before contracting someone to open the safe.

Hope this helps,

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safe old 60dail
safe old 60dail  
QUESTION: it is only a 60 number dail, and feels like only 2 wheels get picked what would the correct procedure be for opening? i remember that i  went back to the right for the last number is when the rod would fall into the cam and retract the handle, just a dail. ill send picture.reason im pushing to get this done now is, im off work for awhile going for back surgery. bored crazy. i wrote the combo on a piece of trim in a closet of the house i grew up in. i know its been painted over , but i may see if the owner would let me remove and replace that 1 piece, so i can look at it good.


As I originally posted the dialing procedure would be as follows:

If your safe has a 60 number dial (two wheel lock) then the dialing sequence is probably going to be:

3 times right to the first number,
2 times left to the second number,
1 time right until the dial stops.  (possibly your 3rd number)

Right is clockwise, Left is counter clockwise.   Do not count the revolutions of the dial, count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

Sit down with a sheet of paper, and write up the 3600 possible combinations that your safe might have, and then simply dial each and every one of them.   Testing 500 combinations each day would only take you about a week to test all of them.   Obviously some of the possible sets aren't possible, so you can eliminate some of them.

While this may seem a little frustrating, just think how you will feel when you unlock it!!!!

Note:   If you are making any type of dialing error, then even if you test all of the possibilities, it may not open.

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

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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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