You are here:

Antique Safes/Locked safe


I have a combination to my parents the lady left behind it's on Morse and Ireland see if it tells me to go five times past Y 4 time is passed A three times past H two times past E one time too I and then it says then right. I don't understand that part

Hi David,

The dialing sequence for the Morse & Ireland safes that I've seen, with an alpha bet dial were as follows:

4 times left to the first letter,
3 times right to the second letter,
2 times left to the third letter,
1 time right stopping on the fourth letter - turn the handle to open.

The dialing sequence that you are indicating sounds more like a MacNeale & Urban safe than a Morse & Ireland, with the dialing sequence as:

5 times right to the first letter, Y
4 times left to the second letter, A
3 times right to the third letter, H
2 times left to the fourth letter, E
1 time right until the dial stops (may be around "I")

Note:   generally factory set numbers ended with a "K" instead of your "E".     The last letter "I" is not really part of the combination, only a reference point where the dial SHOULD stop at.

Unfortunately combinations are generally passed on the way they are understood, and NOT necessarily the way that the lock works.    In this instance the first thing we need to do is to actually ID what you have.

If you still can't get the combo do work, then you may need to have it checked out by a safe technician from a local safe company (not a locksmith).

Note:    Right is clockwise, Left is counter clockwise.   DO NOT count the revolutions of the dial, count the individual letter as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

Hope this helps.  

Antique Safes

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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

©2017 All rights reserved.