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Antique Safes/herring-hall-marvin safe


I got a safe that my aunt used when she had her business but she don't use it anymore so it hasn't been opened in 7 years im trying to get it open without damaging it cause she don't remember the com but I want to use the safe is there any way to get a safe like this open without drilling thanks she bought it 25 years ago so the store no longer keeps records

Hi Cliff,

Yes there is, but that doesn't mean its going to happen for your safe, for several reasons.

First, you may not have someone in your area who is trained in manipulation, and
Second, Manipulation is NEVER a guarantee.    For various mechanical reasons, including dirt, debris, wear & tear, etc. etc. etc., some locks simply don't want to talk.    While most locks CAN be manipulated open, given the amount of time it may take, depending on the lock and the safe technicians level of competency, it may not be practical.

Generally with manipulation, you are paying for the service NOT the result.

Drilling, when done correctly, by a trained safe technician WILL NOT ruin or damage the safe or the lock.    Obviously if you let some untrained locksmith work on it just because they give you the "high five" that they can do it, you may wind up with unsatisfactory results, so finding someone competent is obviously paramount.

Check in your local yellow pages under safes & vaults to find out who is available - contact them and discuss the opening options.   

While I always start with basic manipulation and dialing diagnostics to determine if the lock is going to talk, and/or to find problems, if I'm not getting satisfactory results in 15-20 minutes, I probably won't waste much more time.   Remember that TIME is money, and the longer that someone wastes on the safe is money coming out of YOUR pocket.
Because I have a very large service area, and I may have several other customers waiting in line for me to finish working on your safe, I have to be as productive as possible - so again, wasting time is NOT in my vocabulary.

If you don't have a local safe company, let me know where you are located (zip code) and I'll see if I know any one that I might recommend.  

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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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