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Antique Safes/Yale Combo


I have an old small safe that came off a Navy ship with a YALE combo.
I have the combo but when I get  to the end ,right to zero, then left to ten
it  doesn't want open without playing with it.
     Is there any way to tighten the combo ,so you go to open it , and you don't have
to finesse it?    Tim

Tim, Yale hand change locks with heavy wear is the usual cause of this problem.  One or more of the wheels fail to line up correctly with the flipper fence. I would recommend finding a locksmith or safe tech with experience on these locks to adjust the comb to compensate for the wear. Also it sounds like you may be adding an extra turn in the sequence, the right turn to zero. Possibly this was an attempt to bypass the wear, by reversing the dialing sequence.  As long as you are not tied to the original combination, you can try adding or subtracting a number from each of your combination numbers, one at a time.  Keep track of what you dial and you may hit on a more reliable combination.  Doug  

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Doug MacQueen


This unusual and highly innovative safe from the later 1800's is a Corliss. William, the much younger brother of George Corliss of steam engine fame, spent several years perfecting this design and it was first displayed at the 1876 Philadelphia U.S. Centennial Exhibition. I do extensive patent research helping me in the study of antique U.S. safes and safe locks. Repairs and part making for antique U.S. safes of the early to mid 1800's, both key and combination. Also the study of early round door chest designs up to and including cannonball safes of the early 1900's.


40 years in the lock and safe trade with a stint in bank service work. Openings, repairs and moving of safes of all types.

Charter member Safe and Vault Technicians Association SAVTA, National Safemans Association NSO, National Antique Safe Association NASA. No longer current.

SAVTA monthly magazine

CMS (Certified Master Safecracker- NSO) and CPS (Certified Professional Safe Technician - SAVTA)

Awards and Honors
2nd place national combination manipulation contest 1986 and now in 2016 1st place

Past/Present Clients

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