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Antique Safes/safe identity


QUESTION: I have a diebold safe that is 28 x28 by 42 " high including wheels
The door is open and I want to reset the combo  .Where can I get this info .It is pretty old and heavy steel .It is a left right left right combo..three number I believe thanks Pat

ANSWER: Patrick, the vast majority of Diebold safes require a special key to change the combination.  And as there are quite a few different locks used, each requiring their own key, in the long run you would be better off having a professional do it for you.  I have seen safe change keys for sale on Ebay, but you need to know which one to get for your lock. Depending on how old the safe is, getting the correct key can be difficult and expensive.  Doug     

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QUESTION: could you possibly send me a pic of the key or the hole it goes in ..there is a round hole in the back of the lock in the wheel and the other 2 wheels appear to have a round hole also....there is a small pin in the back wheel that appears to lock the wheels to the outside dial

ANSWER: I guess I wasn't clear enough here.  There are numerous Diebold change keys, so you would have to post pictures of your lock for me to determine which key you would need.  

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change key hole
change key hole  
QUESTION: here is a pic of the wheels and the change key hole I think ..someone told me it is a SLC 14 key that is needed...thanks Pat

Yes that should be it.  It is a "K" lock, 3 wheels and changeable drive wheel, using the top "0" index mark for changing.  The lock back cover needs to be installed when setting the new comb.  The direction the key gets turned is dictated by the stop on the cover.  Obviously you have to have all the wheel change hubs aligned to insert the key.  Dial in your new comb, 4L-3R-2L-1R or 4R-3L-2R-1L either way will work, just remember which sequence you use.  Reverse the key back to remove.  Always try the comb several times with the door open before closing it.

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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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