Locksmithing/JJ Taylor


Just saw you answered very well a question about a JJ Taylor old safe.

A friend has a underground vault with a door written JJ Taylor 1855 and 1262 (model?) that has not been opened since about 5 years. We tried to open with the 3 numbers he is sure are good, turming 4L-3R-2L then R but the dial does not stop as it should. Is it possible that the high humidity in that vault affected the lock so it is not operating ?  I also fond on internet that for some locks you finally stop at 0.

Many years ago I opened the lock of my safe to see how it works and remember that  small parts control the 3 weels so they turn one after the other to place a slot strait up in a row using the 3 good numbers; maybe one does not shift due to corrosion ?

Thanks for any answer and have a good day,   Andre


There are only three reasons that a safe lock won't open, they are:
1.  Incorrect dialing squence, (operator errors)
2.  Incorrect combination, (wrong numbers)
3.  Mechanical problems.

As mechanical problems are generally the smallest group of problems, this usually leaves wrong numbers and operator errors.

Especially if the container has not been opened in over 5 years, there is a really great chance that you are making a dialing error, and/or have the wrong numbers.   Many of the locks used on J&J Taylor containers were four wheel locks, so assuming that the 3 numbers are correct, two of the lock wheels may be on the same number, so your dialing squence would be:

"5" 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

NOTE:  Left is counter clockwise, right is clockwise.  DO NOT count the revolutions of the dial, count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

How does that saying go?   If I had a nickle for every time someone told me "I'm sure I have the right numbers", I'd be rich!!!

If its NOT a mechanical problem, and IF you are dialing it correctly, then the numbers are probably NOT correct.

If you still can't get it open, it is probably time to have a safe technician from a local safe company check it out.   NOTE:  I NEVER recommend using a locksmith for safe work as they generally don't have the training, knowledge or tools to work on safes without causing excessive damage.


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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 42 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. 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 Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes".

SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA)

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

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 Expert 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 and Western Nevada)

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