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Antique Safes/Abrir caja fuerte


Caja Fuerte de Seguridad
Caja Fuerte de Segurid  
Apreciados Señores:
Tenemos una caja fuerte antigua y perdimos la clave. Estamos ubicados en Bogotá -Colombia. En la puerta de la caja fuerte aparece escrito "The American Safe & Lock" y las personas que han ido a ver si la pueden abrir todos nos han dicho que es necesario romperla que de otra manera no se puede abrir. Ustedes nos podrian indicar como hacemos para abrirla sin romperla, ya que es una caja fuerte de por lo menos 60 años de antiguedad.
o indicarnos en Bogotá quien podria prestarnos ese servicio de abrirla sin romperla.
Beatriz Santos

Hello Beatriz,

Chances are the actual manufacturer of the safe is the "J. Baum Safe & Lock Company".   The American Safe & Lock Co., of Anderson, Ind. was more of a distributor or sales agent and not an actual "maker of safes".

Also, your safe is much older than 60 years old.    It is probably from the early 1900's to about 1915ish.

You basically have two options available to you for opening of the safe, if you do not have a good combination.

1.   You can contact a local safe company - NOT a locksmith - to have their trained, qualified, safe technician open the safe.   As this is an antique safe, damage should not be tolerated.    Parts are not going to be available so it should be opened as damage free as possible.

2.   Your other option would be to test dial all of the possible combinations until you find the correct one.  
Unfortunately with a 100 number dial, this gives you about 1,000,000 possible combinations to test.    while the lock does not support this number of combinations, you will still need to test dial all of them.    You can cut down the number of test combinations by dialing every other number.   This would drop the number of test combinations down to about 125,000 possibles, and save you several years of testing.

The proper dialing sequence for the lock that I would expect to find on this container 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 - around "0".

Note:   If the dial doesn't stop, you either don't have the correct combination, or the handle and bolt work may be binding up the gravity lever.   Make sure the handle is loose and wiggles back and forth slightly.

Left is counter clockwise and right is clockwise.   do not count the number of revolutions of the dial, count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.
For instance if your first number is 50, you will turn the dial counter clockwise (left), stopping the fourth time the number 50 arrives at the index mark.

Sorry I don't have better options for you, however I don't have the names of any safe technicians or safe companies in Bogota to refer you to.

Hope this helps,


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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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