You are here:

Antique Safes/HHM safe lost combination

Advertisement


Question
Andy,
I have an old HHM safe with a S&G combination lock.

Safe was purchased 18 years ago in West Helena, AR.

Is there a list of possible default combinations?

If not how likely is a locksmith able to manipulate the lock.

I am now in SW Kansas and it has not been opened since purchased by my sister-in-law, I am dying to know what is inside.

It looks very much like the one in this answer:

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Antique-Safes-3774/2011/2/Opening-HHM-Safe.htm


Hand written on the side of one hinge is R2607 does that mean anything to you?

Thanks
Matt

Answer
Hi Matt,

There is no such thin as a "list" of default or factory combinations.   A "default" combination would be one that always opened a safe or would reset back in case a combination is lost.    Locks don't work that way, and safe makers didn't use a "standard" combination.
 
First off, with over 1,000,000 potential combinations available, there is little reason for them to use a standard, combination.   You could sell a heck of a lot of safes before ever having to use a combination over again.
Second, manufacturers NEVER published any listing of serial numbers or the combinations set on safes, for obvious security and liability reasons.   Once they are out of business, any records are lost as well.

So, with a locked up older safe, with an unknown combination, you basically have two options.    You can test all of the possible combinations that your lock might have, or you can have a safe technician open it.

NOTE:   As you asked about "locksmiths",   I generally DO NOT recommend using them for safe work as they usually don't have the training, knowledge or tools to work on safes, without causing excessive damage or charging exhorbant fees.

As for having the safe "manipulated" open, while it is a possibility even many safe technicians are not skilled manipulators.    Unlike the movies where they simply wave their hands over the lock and say "These are not the Droids you are looking for" (oh sorry, wrong movie), manipulation is a very exacting skill requiring LOTS of practice that most service techs are not willing to put in.

While I would discuss the possibility with whom ever your local safe company and safe tech are, they may not be trained.

Drilling the safe, while not preferable, if done correctly by a trained safe tech, will NOT damage the safe or lock, and the usually small hole (around 1/4") can easily be repaired.

The numbers on the hinge are casting or part numbers, and have no other meaning.    Manufacturers NEVER published any records pertaining to safes or safe combinations, so even if we had a serial number for your safe, there is no place to look for the combination.    As HHM has been out of business since about 1959, there is also no one to contact.

Check your yellow pages under "Safes & Vaults" to see what companies are in your area.   If you can't find one, let me know where you are located (zip code) and I'll see if I know and/or can recommend someone in your area.  

Antique Safes

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

Organizations
Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.