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Antique Safes/safe cabinet wall safe with yale lock


QUESTION: We have sold our building and we have an antique safe cabinet co. wall safe from Marrietta Ohio with a yale combination lock and handle. We no longer have the combination and the new owners do not want the safe destroyed. Is there anyway to get the combination at this point, or a way to open it without destroying the safe? There is a hole at the very top that may be like an emergency open with some sort of tool or key? I am not sure just guessing on that. Also didn't know if the door could be taken off with the door joints? Any help is much appreciated.

ANSWER: Hi Brenda,

If you are referring to contacting the manufacturer of the safe to try to get a combo - unless you have a time machine the answer is - no!
Also, safes were NOT fitted with "emergency opening points"!    They wouldn't be very safe if they simply had a "trick" to open them if you lost the combo, now would they!    Similarly, manufacturers figured out the hinge trick about 150 years ago, and fixed that issue.

As far as opening the safe without ruining or destroying it - then yes, this can be done, however it WILL depend on who you choose to do the work for you.   You basically have two choices:
1.    Test dial all possible combinations for the lock on the safe, which could be up to 1,000,000 possible test combo's, or
2.    You can contact a local safe company to have their trained safe tech open the safe for you.

In general, while most safemen are also locksmiths, most locksmiths are rarely safemen.   Choosing a locksmith that has little training or knowledge in safes is a sure way to have the safe destroyed.

Check your yellow pages under "safes & vaults" for nearby companies.   If you don't have any, then I'll need to know where you are located (zip code), so that I can see who I might know and/or recommend in your area.

Hope this helps start you in the right direction.

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

QUESTION: I knew I couldn't contact the company as they went out of business a long time ago, but the combo lock itself is a yale and they are. I didn't mean a trick I meant like a special separate key that we no longer have. Ok well you answered my questions so I will contact someone here locally (47901) Thank you!

Hi Brenda,

Don't confuse the "YALE" company which is in business today, with what was available 40 years ago.   The safe lock division was discontinued in the 1960's.    Also, lock manufacturers NEVER set combinations on locks.   They left the factory on a neutral number.   The combination would have been set either by the safe manufacturer when the lock was installed, or by the distributor when the safe was sold.

As you have correctly surmised, as ALL of these companies have not been around since the mid 1950's if there were any original records they are long since gone.    Current manufacturers (with few exceptions) generally only keep the last 10 years worth.   Distributors, locksmiths and local safe companies should NOT keep any records of their customers combinations for obvious security and liability reasons.

I'm sorry that my answer wasn't a bit better, but as originally indicated, you currently only have two options, and as I assume that you would like the safe operational, I purposefully left out "destroying it" as a viable option.

The nearest company that I know of and/or would recommend would be:

Koehlinger Security          about 100 miles away
260-424-1520          Matt Eisenacher
421 E Washington Blvd
Ft Wayne, IN  46802

Fink Safe & Lock          about 110 miles away
773-486-2030          Robert McCown
2311 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL  60647

While there may be some closer companies, they would be much smaller, and I don't know what their training or capabilities would be.    Most safe companies are used to driving 100's of miles as part of their business, so you would need to discuss the project with them.

There should be a local company in Lafayette, I have a listing for the following company, however I have no idea what their capabilities actually are.

Haley's Lock, Safe & Key service.
415 N Earl Ave Ste 1
LaFayette, IN   47904

Hope this gives you some options

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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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