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I was recently given an old safe my friend had in his shop for years. I believe it came from a Construction job(he is a contractor).He had a locksmith open it years ago. It has a single Brass Tag as well as the number 4 stamped on several hinges. I have two possible Combinations; one written on the side, one stamped on the handle. Neither seems to work from all my attempts, they are both 4 digit Combinations. one specifies R,L,R,L. I have attached three photos that seemed relevant.

I really appreciate any Direction you can point me,



Well your safe appears to (possibly) be a Schwab "class B" (2 hour), fire resistive safe.   Probably from the 1940's.

First off, numbers stamped on the safe or handle are NOT combinations - that would be pretty silly for a manufacturer to stamp the combination where anyone could easily see it.   They would also be liable EVERY TIME anything was ever missing out of the safe.

As far as the "4 number" concept - the combination would be something like 12-84-36, which is three numbers or SIX digits.   Assuming that the safe has a "YALE" lock by the RLRL you have indicated, the dialing sequence would be as follows:

4 times Right to the first number,
3 times Left to the second number,
2 times Right to the third number,
1 time Left until the dial stops (around 10).

NOTE:   Left is counter clockwise, Right is Clockwise.   DO NOT count the revolutions of the dial, count the INDIVIDUAL number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

If the lock is NOT a Yale lock, but a Sargent & Greenleaf, the dialing sequence would probably be reversed or  LRLR vs RLRL.

If you still can't get it, then chances are you are either still making a dialing error, or more likely you do not have the correct combination or numbers.   Its probably time to have a trained safe technician check your safe out.

Contact a local safe company to schedule up the service.   NOTE:  I never recommend using locksmiths for safe work, as they generally do not have the training, knowledge or tools to work on safes, and can cause excessive damage or charge exhorbant fees.    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 in your area.

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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