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Locksmithing/Meilink Safe Combination


Empire Safe Dial
Empire Safe Dial  
Hi Andy:

I bought a vintage Empire Safe this past weekend, and when I picked it up, the door was open, and the knob was turning freely.  When I got home, I realized that 2 of the combination numbers were 97 and 58, yet the safe only had a 50 number dial.  I'm sure you can figure out what happened next.  I closed the door, and now I cannot open it.  My wife and I have spent hours trying to get this open, so any help would be appreciated.  




First, the word "vintage" has to do with the year of a wine harvest or bottling of a wine, NOT the age of an old safe.

As far as the safe goes, while it may have been sold by the "Empire Safe Company", it was manufactured by the Meilink Safe Company.   Generally the majority of the locks used on Meilink safes were made by the Eagle Lock Company.   Generally these locks, with the 50 number dial had two wheels and a drive wheel, so the dialing sequence would have been:

3 times right to the first number,
2 times left to the second number,
1 time right until the dial stops (third number).

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.

Assuming that the combination that you have is "coded", if you can't figure out the coding, or what the combo is, you basically have about 2500 possible combinations to try, though a number of these wouldn't be any good.   If you set up a spread sheet with all the possible combo's you should be able to test them all out in a couple weeks, or less depending on the combination.

Don't worry about the third number, dial the first two as above, and then simply turn the dial right til it stops, this will be your third number.   If the dial doesn't stop, then obviously this wasn't your combination.

If you still can't get it open, then you may need to have a safe technician from a local safe company.   NOTE:   I NEVER recommend using locksmiths, as they generally don't have the knowledge, training or tools to work on your safe without causing excessive damage.

Hope this helps,


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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

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

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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 and Western Nevada)

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