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Locksmithing/Yale Lock in Old Safe Door



Hi, I installed an old bank vault door into a new house a few years ago and am finally getting around to making the thing work. It had,  I am assuming, was the original paint on the front of the door that said National Safe and Lock Co., Cleveland, Ohio. I had it sandblasted and repainted before I installed into the new house and was going to get redone like it was before with pictures. It has a Yale combination with the date of Jan, 1894 on the lock front. I never had the combination. I know I am missing a piece that goes from the mechanism to the bar, because I can see the 2 screw holes that have nothing, but I can't tell if I am missing something inside the mechanism. I can see the 4 wheels inside the mechanism, and I can tell when all the notches are lined up, but I can't tell if I am missing anything else? Also, would the combination be all the numbers it takes to see the notches line up facing the door latch? I can send more pictures. Thanks


The National Safe & Lock Company was in business from 1883 until 1920 when it was acquired by the Steelcraft Corp. of America.   They continued manufacturing under the name The National Safe Company until closing business around 1929 (Great Depression).

The lock is a "rotary bolt" lock,   When the combination has been dialed correctly, a lever will enter the wheels, and during retraction the lock bolt will pivot up and out of the way, revealing a cavity in the lock.

The missing piece on the bolt work, is a "straight tail piece".   When the lock is unlocked and the cavity revealed, turning the handle on the door, will move the bolt work (retracted), and drive the straight tail piece into the lock.   In the locked position (as in photos), the closed rotary bolt, blocks the movement of the missing straight tail piece, and the bolt work cannot be retracted (opened).

As you didn't include any interior photos of the lock, I can't tell if all of the pieces are there.

My recommendation, rather than sending photos, would be to have a safe technician from a local safe company inspect it for proper operation, and recover or reset the combination, and repair or fabricate any missing pieces.

If necessary you can send me photos, of the lock insides, and I'll see if everything appears to be there.

Send the pics to me at:


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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

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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