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Antique Safes/Safe opening


I bought a house that had some things in it including an old safe.  There is no combination appearing anywhere.  It is a Warth Baum floor safe on rolling casters.  Do you have any recommendations for locksmiths in the central or South Georgia region?


I've got a couple options for you to try.   Most of the Warth-Baum safes had two combination wheels and a drive wheel, some had three combination wheels and a drive wheel.

Assuming that yours is the two wheel version, you can easily set up a spread sheet with the various combinations and simply dial them until you find the one that opens the safe.

These safes used their own version of a Yale OB series, gravity lever type lock, so you want to make sure that the handle is turned fully counter clockwise, so that the bolt work does not bind the lever assembly.

The dialing sequence is:

3 times right to the first number,
2 times left to the second number,
1 time right, slowly until the dial stops - this would be your third number, but does not change.   When the dial stops the lock is unlocked - turn the handle to open the safe.

with a 100 number dial, this would give you about 10,000 possible combinations.   If you try every other number (all odd or even), you could knock this number down to 2500 possible test combinations.

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.  So if your first test number was 25, you would turn the dial clockwise, stopping the THIRD time the number 25 arrives at the index mark.
If the dial does not stop during the last revolution, then the combination is not correct - move to the next combination on your test sheet.

If you have a three wheel lock, the dialing sequence would 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, slowly until the dial stops.

Obviously with a three wheel lock possible number of combinations goes up dramatically, with 1,000,000 possible combinations.   Trying every other number (odds or evens) would drop this down to about 125,000 possible combinations.    A lot to try, but doable!

If you still can't get it open, then you may need to contact a local safe company, though Georgia is greatly lacking in trained safe techs.

One of the few companies that I would recommend would be:

Protection Lock and Equipment
770-436-0302          Ron Snively
2347 Beaver Creek Road
Smyrna, GA 30080

Smyrna, GA is close to Atlanta, while I realize that this isn't quite south Georgia, you don't have a lot of choices.   Give Ron a call and discuss the safe with him.   If the safe is small enough, you may be able to load it into a truck and take it to him - this could save you a bunch of money.  
Ron also might know and/or recommend someone closer to you.

The Warth-Baum Safe & Lock Company was in business from about 1870-1893, so this safe is considered an antique.   Any work that is done on it should NOT damage or ruin the safe.   If you discuss having the safe opened with anyone who even remotely indicates that they might damage or ruin the safe while opening it - run away!!! You should avoid this company like the plague.
Drilling the safe, when done correctly will not damage or ruin the safe.   A professional safe technician can use a very small hole, usually smaller than 1/4" and a fiber optic scope to decode the lock and open the safe.   This tiny hole can easily be repaired, leaving no damage to the safe or the lock.   Though my first recommendation for this lock would be manipulation, you may not have anyone around that is trained or skilled in manipulation.

Hope this helps, or at least gives you some options.

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 40 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of two Tilton & McFarland Safes from the 1860'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.


40 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. 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. 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

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 - 2013 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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