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Antique Safes/safe identification / dialing sequence


QUESTION: I recently acquired an old safe from work.
Most everyone that new anything about it has since retired.

It doesn't have any manufacturer markings on the outside.
Dimensions are L 38.5" W 26.75" H 66"
It has a Sargent and Greenleaf lock and has B 1850 979 stamped on the handle.  It also has an UL tag on it that says "Inspected Safe No S 49604 Class B" which I understand gives it a 2 hour fire rating.

If you could possibly identify this safe from this info and the pictures that I am emailing to you I would love to know the history.

It is locked at the moment but I was provided with what is believed to be the correct combination.  Would you be able to give me the dialing sequence for the lock?  I have tried to dial it as I dial my 1950's Halls Standard safe equipped with a SG lock but haven't had any luck.   
In the event that I did not end up with the correct combination could you recommend a safe technician in my area (zip 53594)?

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide!

ANSWER: Hi Mike,

The safe appears to be an old Schwab fire safe, possibly 1930's or 40's.    But in order to actually ID it, I'll need a lot more and better photos.

While the "Classification B" does indicate a 2 hour fire rating, this safe is over 50 years old and does NOT meet any current standards.   It should not be used for overnight storage of ANY valuables or hard to replace documents, and it will NOT provide any protection for data type storage like CD's, film, disc's, etc.

Probably the nearest company that I would recommend would be:

Professional Safe & Lock Service
414-327-5625          John Soderland
5123 West Howard Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin   53220

John is about 50 miles from you.    There may be some closer, smaller companies but none that I personally know of that I can recommend.

After you get it open, if you want me to verify the maker, I'll need better photos, but John should be able to verify its identity for you as well.

Hope this helps.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Thanks for the valuable information on my safe.
Could you help me out with the dialing sequence as well?
It is or at least the dial is a Sargent and Greenleaf.
Thanks again, Mike

Hi Mike,

The dialing sequence for the S&G lock 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 until the dial stops (should be around 90-95).    turn handle to open.

Many of these containers used Yale locks so you might also try:

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 (should be around 5-10).     turn handle to open.

Note:   Left is counter clockwise, right is clockwise.   Don't count the 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 would dial counter clockwise (left) stopping the fourth time the number 50 arrives at the index.

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

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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