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I have a neighbor wanting to sell an old wilshire 2 door safe.  He had it open a few months back for me to look at.  Now that i am ready to buy it we cant get the door open.  It has an alphabetic dial for the combo.  the combination that he gave me has the directions with six different stops on it.  not sure of the number of turns for each. can you help?

Hi Nancy,

Sorry but the safe is NOT a "Wilshire" safe.   The W.B. Wilshire & Company, or Raymond & Wilshire or Wilshire Safe & Scale Company was simply a distributor or sales agent - NOT a manufacturer.

More than likely your safe was manufactured by the MacNeale & Urban Safe Company of either Cincinnati or Hamilton, OH (depending on when it was made).

The biggest problem with combinations is that they are generally passed along the way the previous owner understands it and NOT necessarily the way the lock actually works.   The owner has too many "stops" based on your description.   As you didn't include the letters that he is attempting to use, I can't decode it to try to give you the possible correct sequence for that combination.   The best I can do is to give you what SHOULD be the correct dialing sequence - YOU will then have to apply the info that he has given you.

MacNeale & Urban used 3 and 4 wheel locks, though the four wheel lock was possibly more prevalent.   The dialing sequence should be:

4 times right to the first letter,
3 times left to the second letter,
2 times right to the third letter,
1 time left to the fourth letter,
turn the dial right until it stops - turn handle to open safe.

Note:    Left is counter clockwise, right is clockwise.    Do not count the revolutions of the dial, count the INDIVIDUAL letter as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

Many times the letters were used to spell common four letter words.   Generally the last letter was "K", so having a four letter word ending in "K" was common.   

Hope this helps, if not, then I will need more info, or you will need to have it checked out by a safe technician from a local safe company.  

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 40 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of two Tilton & McFarland Safes from the 1860'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.


40 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. 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. 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

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 - 2013 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

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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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