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Locksmithing/Victor Safe with Combination But can't Open


QUESTION: Hi Andy, I seen you on a safe website giving valuable information. I have an old victor safe that is in my basement wall. The house is 1915 and I am guessing the safe has been there since new.I did get the combination from the original home owner (now passed away) the paper and hand writing looks as old as the safe. It does have a victor dial with the numbers 211264. I can't seem to get the combination to work. I am guessing it is because of the way I am turning the dial. The acorn hinge nut I would say is heavy/ solid. The writing on the paper with the combination is a little confusing, how they worded it.The paper reads "start 75 clear 4 times right to 75 left twice past 75 to 6 right once past 6 to 75 left to 14 right to open." I have scanned the paper with the combination and took a few pictures of the safe and emailed them to you. Any information would be greatly appreciated. I sent this same question to email earlier but decided this would be the better way to go. THANKS

ANSWER: Jarret,

There are only 3 reasons that a safe lock won't open, in order - they are:

1.  Incorrect dialing sequence, operator errors
2.  Incorrect combination, wrong numbers
3.  mechanical problems.

Generally the problem with receiving a combination from a previous owner, especially on an older safe, the instructions are usually passed on the way they are understood, and NOT necessarily the way they actually work.

The dialing sequence for your safe should be:

4 times left to the first number, (possibly 75)
3 times right to the second number, (possibly 6)
2 times left to the third number, (possibly 14),
1 time right until the dial stops  -  either turn handle to open, or simply pull the door open.

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.   for instance if your first number is 75, you would turn the dial counter clockwise (left), stopping the fourth time the number 75 ARRIVES at the index mark.

Forget "Clearing" anything - when the lock was locked it was cleared - your job now is to correctly dial the combination.   Also for get trying to figure going past a number to a number or any other nonsense - simply dial the correct direction and count the number as it arrives at the index.   So, for the first number you would turn the dial counter clockwise (left) to 75 once, 75 twice, 75 three times, stoping on 75 the fourth time.

If you still can't get it open, you are either continuing a dialing error, the numbers aren't correct or it as a mechanical problem.   You may want to have it checked out by a safe technician from a local safe company - NOT a locksmith!!!

Hope this helps,

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

QUESTION: Thanks for the quick response! I tried a few different ways of putting in the  combination, including the one you suggested. I tried right, left, right, left and left, right, left, right. I tried a ton of things and am stumped. I just bought the house 6 months ago and they left the combination and sounded as if it worked. So I am thinking it is operator error (me). Is it weird to have 75 in the combination as the first and third numbers? There is not any safe technicians in the yellow pages near me and I was kind of hoping to tackle this job myself. Do you have any other suggestions or ideas, anything would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

ANSWER: Jarret,

The dialing sequence I gave you IS the correct one for the lock on your safe.  So that pretty much leaves the numbers.   I didn't get the second 75 in your first description, so I had the numbers incorrect in my original sequence, which would change it to the following.

4 times left to the first number, (possibly 75)
3 times right to the second number, (possibly 6)
2 times left to the third number, (possibly 75),
1 time right until the dial stops (possibly 14) -  either turn handle to open, or simply pull the door open.

If you want to change the numbers in the sequence above, that's ok, however DO NOT change the dialing sequence as I have written it, anything else is just wasting your time.

Note:   during the final sequence, the dial WILL come to a full and complete stop if you have dialed it correctly, so I wouldn't worry so much about the number 14 as it may just be a reference point, where the dial stops - concentrate on the first three numbers.

While this lock does NOT have the capability of a full 1,000,000 possible combinations, there is no way for you to tell what the variations you need to try would be, so you are pretty well stuck with the following choices:

1.  Stick with the numbers that you have, adding and subtracting up to 10 numbers on either side of each number to come up with 1000 possible combinations to test.

2.  Test all of the 1,000,000 possible combinations.   At 500 per day - worst case it will only take about 5.5 years.

3.  have a safe tech check it out - or take the safe to a safe technician to have it checked out.   Total time to open, repair and recover the combination by a trained safe tech should NOT take over 1-2 hours.   If one of my apprentices took over an hour, I'd be kicking some ass.

I don't generally recommend using locksmiths as they usually don't have the training, knowledge or tools, and can cause excessive damage or charge exhorbant fees.

Hope this helps,

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

QUESTION: Ok, Thanks for the information it is greatly appreciated. I think there is a mechanical issue with the mechanism itself because I tried a ton of different things and the dial itself spins very very easily with no resistance. It just feels as if it isant working. I will keep trying different number sequences. Thanks for the information, let me know if you have any other information. THANKS!


Assuming that you are dialing correctly, MY assumption would be that the numbers are incorrect, before I would even begin to think about mechanical problems.   Litterally this lock is so simple that there is very little that (mechanically) can go wrong with it.

Either way, it may be time to call out the safe techs.


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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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