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Antique Safes/floor safe


QUESTION: Hi Terry, I recently acquired a floor safe marked :the Cincinnati safe & lock Co. The dial is marked Sargent & greenleaf, Rochester NY.  of interest the dial has no numbers between100 and 20 . I have no combination for it and am going to try to open it by lock manipulation .I would then like to restore it. I am looking for any information about the safe ...thank you Bill V.

ANSWER: Hi William,

The Sargent & Greenleaf lock on your safe is the C60 series lock, there were four versions of this lock as:

C62 - 4 wheels, rotary bolt          100,000,000 potential test combos
C64 - 4 wheels, sliding bolt
C66 - 3 wheels, rotary bolt          1,000,000 potential test combos
C68 - 3 wheels, sliding bolt
The subsequent version was the S&G 6810 which was also available in 3 & 4 wheels and sliding & rotary type bolts.

All use a gravity drop lever assembly, so there isn't going to be any "positive" lever to drive wheel interaction like you would have with a current model, spring actuated lever assembly.

Dialing sequence for the locks is:
(4 wheel)
5 times right to the first number,
4 times left to the second number,
3 times right to the third number,
2 times left to the fourth number,
1 time right until the dial stops (around 90).

(3 wheel)
4 times left to the first number,
3 times right to the second number,
2 times left to the third number,
1 time right until the dial stops (around 90)

The reason that there are no numbers between 0-20 - this is what we term the "Forbidden zone".   While this actually ONLY affects the wheel closest to the drive wheel, the manufacturer elected to remove the numbers in this area to make it MUCH more difficult for someone to "screw up" setting a combination.    As you have no numbers in this area, it will make it more difficult to manipulate as you have no reference indications.

I would like to see more photos of your safe - mainly before and after restoration photos.   Its good to see you have taken an interest in the safe and are involved in saving it.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Although I know you cannot give out information that would help someone open a safe for obvious reasons, however can you tell me if this particular type of lock has technology that would make it more difficult to be manipulated?  Also approximately what years were these safes made? Thank you, it is so good to be able to ask someone who is both knowledgeable, and passionate about restoration of these old this site!

Hi William,

I already answered these questions in my previous answer.    Other than the basic lock info - WHICH does give you the info that you need, for obvious security and liability reasons I can't go into any more details on the locks.

The question is simply - do YOU have the knowledge and training to be able to manipulate the locks???    If you are simply trying to do it because you have this old safe and think it would be "neat" - well I agree, this is why I got into this business in the beginning.   That being said, there are no shortcuts.   You aren't going to be able to learn manipulation from reading some blogs or references on the internet.   In general, these ONLY apply to one specific type of lock.   Once you learn the basics, then you have to apply and adjust the rules for the various types of locks that you might run into - this would be "advanced manipulation"
Asking basic questions, leads me to believe that you are just beginning or attempting this skill as anyone with training would have obtained all the info they needed directly from the lock using basic dialing diagnostics, before considering manipulation.

As far as possible age - The Cincinnati Safe & Lock Company was established by George Berkmyer in the early 1870's.   The company lasted into the late 1880's or early 1890's before it disappeared, as Mr. Berkmyer wanted to retire and live his remaining years free from business responsibilities - he died in 1892.   There is a good chance that it was acquired by Mosler Safe & Lock as several patents by Mr. Berkmyer were assigned to Mosler Safe & Lock.

As stated, I began my career 43 years ago for this very same reason.   There is no substitute for formal training and/or apprenticeship to learn these skills.   You have to learn the basic of lock construction and operation BEFORE you can even consider advanced skills like manipulation.   If "YOU" don't understand the locks operation, then you will have no idea of what you are feeling and/or looking for.

There are a couple schools that teach these skills, however they have pre-requisites for attending such as:
1.   Basic Locksmith training
2.   Basic Safe lock servicing
3.   Basic mechanical lock manipulation
4.   Advanced mechanical lock manipulation

Obviously these classes can take an amount of time and $$$'s to obtain, but THIS IS the short cut!

Hope this helps,

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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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