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Antique Safes/McCaseky safe combination reset


My friend picked up a second hand safe (already open) and doesn't know how to reset the combination. I can see what looks like a serial number 1X37294 on the panel inside the door. The same metal label states SPEC F1-D, "Built to comply with SAFE MANUFACTURERS NATIONAL ASSOCIATION Specifications", S.M.N.A. RATING 1 HR. EXPOSURE , CAT.NO.7

There don't seem to be any manuals, blogs or resources on this, perhaps because the company is so old. I am hoping you could point me in the right direction.

There are 3 numbered wheels/gears with holes for a Robertson screwdriver and smaller gears on top of them; turning them must be how to reset the combination, but neither of us can figure out how to determine what number corresponds to what setting, or how to turn the gear positions into a combination.

Any light you could shed on this, or perhaps resource/manual/etc you could point us to would be greatly appreciated


Hello John,

First I'll address the issue of "manual's or resources" - safe manufacturers never published operating manuals for their safes.   It was NEVER intended for owners to perform their own maintenance including recovering or changing combinations.   In fact most manufacturers stated that if maintenance, including combination changes, was not performed by a factory authorized safe technician, it would void any warrantees.

Second item - McCaskey Safes (McCaskey Register Company) - While McCaskey DID make a small line of safes from 1914 until 1953, the majority of the safes sold with their label were made by other safe companies, and simply relabeled.   McCaskey Register Co. was acquired by Business Systems Inc., shortly after WWII, but the name was kept until they were acquired by Victor Adding Machine Company in 1953, ending this line.

The information that you have provided off of the label, has nothing to do with the safe or McCaskey, other than indicating the "standard" which the safe was built to comply with.   The Safe Manufacturers National Association (SMNA) was a testing agency, similar to UL.   What the label does indicate is that the safe was built as a "Fire Resistive Safe" (F1-D), with a "Class C" rating (1 hour).   The serial number is for the TAG and NOT the safe.

The lock and the wheels are "NOT" designed for a Robertson screwdriver, and any attempts to use this tool or a similar tool can possibly result in a damaged lock, or locked up container.    This is one of the reasons that we DO NOT recommend combination changing as a DIY project, for the same reason we don't recommend using locksmiths for safe work.   Lack of knowledge, training and PROPER tools can be extremely expensive if a mistake is made.

the lock requires a special changing tool, and service by a safe technician from a local safe company.

The best that I can offer would be to identify what you actually have (type of safe & manufacturer), and/or to recommend a nearby safe technician, though I will need to know where you and/or the safe are located, (zipcode).

In order to answer specific questions, identify or evaluate your safe, I'm going to need photos.  They should include full exterior and interior.  Detail photos should include pictures of the dial, handles, hinges, artwork, locks, bolt work, castors, cabinetry and any special details or damage.  Note:  You may have to remove the back panel on the door to gain access to the lock & bolt work – I will need these pics.
If you have a particular detail that you have a question about, I will need a photo of it along with your question.

I will also need to see any documentation that you have in regards to your safe.  If your safe has a unique historical perspective, you should be able to document this with letters, newspaper articles or photos, if not it is simply a story and will have no bearing on the value of your safe.

Please use as high a resolution as possible so that I can examine details of your safe.  Pictures which are low resolution, out of focus, or from a distance don’t help when we try to evaluate the container.  Note:  with higher resolution, you may only be able to send 2-4 pictures per email, depending on the size of the file, I have a 12mb limit per email.  If photos are larger than 2mb each, you may only be able to send 2 or 3 photos per email, requiring several emails.

Please don’t send me “cell phone” photos.   Also, please don’t use online, internet photo drops as most of these also don’t allow me to easily access the photos for examination.   Send the pics directly to me, while this may be more work for you, it will make my job easier.

Please send all of the requested photos to:

Note:  As I am in the field several days each week, covering a huge service area, I may not get back to your photos immediately, but I will respond as soon as I get an opportunity.  Due to field work, emails may tend to get backed up which means I may not answer them immediately.

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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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