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Antique Safes/Opening Antique Chicago Safe

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Question
Chicago Safe
Chicago Safe  
I have an old Chicago Safe that I inherited and there is no combination.  I would hate drill it.  Is there any way to obtain the combination?   Any other suggestions

Answer
Hi Ed,

Let me start off with your safe.    This isn't a Chicago Safe & Lock Company safe.   This company was more than likely simply a hardware and safe sales company.    I have no listings of them as a manufacturer.    Off the top of my head - without more info, and only having the one photo to look at, I would have to guess that this was possibly made by the "J. BAUM Safe & Lock Company".    It was very typical for sales agents to put the name of their company on safes for advertising purposes.

Once the safe is open, if you would like an evaluation or identification of it, I would be more than happy to look at more and better photos.


As far as your question about obtaining the combo - Yes, you basically have two options,

1.    You can try all of the 1,000,000 plus, possible combinations.    At 500 per day this could take you about 5.3 years.   "IF" the lock is a four wheel lock, this would take about 530 years!!!!!


2.    You can have it opened by a trained safe technician from a local safe company.    I never recommend using locksmiths as they generally don't have the training, knowledge or tools to work on safes without ruining them or causing excessive damage.

While manipulation is possible, it is not always guaranteed for several reasons.    First you may not have someone trained, or skilled in this area.    Second, some times the locks just don't want to talk to us.
With manipulation you WILL be paying for the service, but not necessarily the result.  

Drilling, when done correctly, by a trained, competent, professional safe tech will not damage the safe or the lock.    the usually small hole (less than 1/4") can easily be repaired and the safe returned to full operational condition.    If done correctly, drilling it will NOT damage the value of the safe.

NOTE:   As parts are not available for many of the older safes, any damage which results in lock replacement should not be done or tolerated.    Just because it can be opened and a newer lock retrofitted on, does not mean that this is the correct solution for the problem.

I would recommend that you check with your local safe companies (check yellow pages under safes & vaults).     If you can't find a company, or none of the locals seem competent, then let me know where you are located (zipcode) and I'll see who I might know in your area.

Hope this helps,  

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

Organizations
Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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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