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Antique Safes/How to open my safe


I have inherited and old safe when I purchased an old home from the late 1800's.  Outside is an old floor safe which I believe to be a Macneale & Urban floor safe from the 1860's or 1870's.  It is missing the tumbler dial and turn knob.  Appears someone has tried to break into it in the past by trying to use a pry bar on the hinge side as well as bust through the steel and concrete on top.  My question there a way to open the safe without destroying it completely?  I have considering drilling in from the top but there is no guarantee I will be able to see what is inside.  I do not have pictures with me as it is a few hours away but it looks exactly like the macneale & urban from another post on this site that had alphabetic dial.


Sounds like it is possibly already destroyed.  

First a simple truth about safes - people never abandon a safe with "stuff" left inside, with the exception of a death of an owner, but generally the families want them opened.   Abandoned safes are usually abandoned, empty, because they are too big to move easily.

As far as opening the safe with out too much further damage, you will need the help of a trained safe technician.   You have a lot of problems which need to be overcome.   First the lock needs to be opened or bypassed.  Secondly, you need the door bolt work retracted, and third you need the doors opened.   Each item may have specific problems or issues, depending on the amount of damage already done, and the condition of the container.   Rust can easily seize the doors, bolt work and lock.

So basically if you elect this as a DIY project, then continued destruction is your option.   If you want much less damage, then you will need someone who is familiar with this type of safe, and has the tools to work on it.

sorry I can't be of more help, but this is going to be a hands on project.    Best I can offer, is if you don't have a local safe company you can use, let me know where the safe is located (zipcode), and I'll see who I might know in your area.

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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

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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