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Antique Safes/old hays safe and lock co safe


Have combination 4 # had been used every day for 40+ years has not been used or opened for 15- 20 years. i have spent hours trying to open without success. Am selling in approx. 1 month so need to open before then. It is a Hays Safe and lock co safe

Same problem / situation and age as  with a Cary safe and lock Co. Ltd. And am also not able to get this one open either.

I do have the numbers off of the handle of each if that would help. They came out of parents businesses

Any assist to open would be much appreciated
Thank you

Hi Dawn,

I'm confused it has been opened successfully every day for forty years, or it was opened successfully UP TO 15 to 20 years ago????

As you didn't provide the combination that you have been testing, I have no way of determining if you are making a dialing error or not.

Regardless of how often it was opened successfully, just like watches need occasional adjustment to keep them accurate, locks need maintenance to keep them operating correctly.

There are only three reasons that a safe lock will not open correctly - in order, they are:

1.  Incorrect dialing sequence, operator errors
2.  incorrect combination, wrong numbers,
3.  mechanical problems.

If the safe has NOT been opened in 15 to 20 years, then I have to assume that you either do not have the correct combination, and/or are not dialing it correctly.    If there was a problem originally, causing them to quit using the lock, then this would be a mechanical issue.

Bottom line, especially if you can't currently open it, and as you have a time line which you have to have it opened by, then you need to contact a local safe company to have their trained safe technician (NOT a locksmith), open the safe and either recover the combination or show you how to operate it correctly.   If there is a mechanical problem with the lock, then this needs to be diagnosed to determine WHAT the problem actually is, and what needs to be done to overcome this, or repair the lock.

As there was no manufacturer by the name of Hays Safe & Lock Company, actual identification of the safe is necessary in order to correctly diagnose the lock problems, and/or come up with the correct dialing sequence for the lock.

At this point their is little that I can offer in help, as this is going to be a hands on job.   If you don't have a local safe company, let me know where you are located (zipcode), and I'll see who I might know in your area, that I would recommend.

If you want me to correctly ID the safe, then I will need much more info, including photos of the safe.  

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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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