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Locksmithing/diebold safe relocker


diebold safe
diebold safe  
diebold safe
diebold safe  
QUESTION: hello i have recently acquired an older diebold safe that i believe is from around the fifties. from what i understand diebold did not start up in canada until around 1958.the safe is approx. 20" square and approx. 30" high. it has a number stamped on the t bar handle that appears to read 207-4. the arcorn finials are just nickel plated steel and not cast as they lack the weight of cast. it has been professionally repainted at one time, as it is now an olive drab green in color (gov't or military perhaps). it has the canadian diebold safe company logo on the door in gold leaf/paint and below that winnipeg, manitoba. i have scratched off some of the green paint to reveal that it was originally black with gold leaf trim.

i am not interested in the value of it as i plan on keeping it to restore. unfortunately it is locked and i do not know the combination. after reading many of your replies i know what my options are for getting it open. my question(s) to you is  what do you think the chances are that it could be in the relock mode if this safe is equipped so. the reason i ask is i believe the safe has been thru a couple of rough rides, and when i bought it it was sitting in the upside down position. the person i bought it from said he found it in the dump at one the cottage country areas here. he and his friend dragged it up from a small pit and drove back to the city with it in the upside down position.

the dial moves quite easily and appears to pick up all the wheels but seems a little stiff when picking up the third wheel. i am in no hurry to get it open, but maybe a little anxious to see if there is anything inside besides vintage dust LOL. i would attempt a shot at the 1,000,000 combos. but if the relocker has been engaged then i am just flogging a dead horse.

so in your opinion which is greatly appreciated, do you think this safe is equipped with a relocking device and do you think it may have been engaged.



Sorry but this safe is a lot older than you think, and it may not even be a Diebold product.   While Diebold has had numerous partnerships over the years, and possibly even some remote facilities, the majority of their products were manufactured in Canton, OH - so "Canadian-Diebold Safe Company" may have simply been a sales outlet.

Secondly, I'm not so sure that this safe is even a Diebold product.    This safe doesn't have the appearance of what the majority of similar Diebold safes looked like from this time period.   Unfortunately, without more photos, including the lock and bolt work, actual identification may not happen until after the safe is open.

The lock on this safe may be a 3 wheel or a 4 wheel lock, so at a minimum you might have 1,000,000 possible combinations.   If it is a four wheel lock it would be closer to 100,000,000 possible combinations.   Though my bet on this safe is simply a three wheel lock.   I also doubt that this safe has any type of relocking device.

As far as the "olive drab" color, this was a standard color of most manufactures, the other standard color being black.   While safes could come in many colors, two tone schemes and even beautiful art work, the majority were plain Jane, black or olive green colors.   As you indicate that it may have been repainted, this further cements the idea that the "Canadian-Diebold Safe Company" was probably just a sales agent or safe sales company - possibly (probably) not even related to Diebold.

As far as the "vintage" dust - unless the dust was from a grape or wine harvest then it isn't vintage - JUST old dust.

If I had to make a guess with just the photo you have provided, I would lean towards a J. Baum safe.   While Diebold was known for their rounded door corners, they were generally larger circumference and the hinges were different.   Also they generally had a more "ball" shape to the handle, rather than the flat front.

Generally people do not dispose of safes with "stuff" inside the safe, so other than opening the safe in order to restore it is simply a waste of time and money.   As you've indicated that your purpose is to restore it and keep it, then I would say that this isn't a waste of your time, but rather than playing with the combo for more than a short time to open it, I would recommend simply having a safe tech from a local safe company open it, so you can get it restored and start using or displaying it.
Waiting until YOU figure out the combination will simply relegate it to a corner of the garage when you get tired of it, where eventually your grandson will find it and this process will start over again.   Get it open, repaired or restored and enjoy it!!!!

Good luck with it.

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

QUESTION: hi Andy, thank you for the quick response to my question and sorry for the delayed feedback. i have been looking at some j baum safes and can see what you mean by it may not be a diebold. i took some high def. pics of the serial # on the handle and it is not 207-4 but it is L20754 with the L at the top. must have been a problem with the numbering die as parts of the number are barely visible.

i sanded down the door a little to reveal that it was painted black with gold paint trim from the winnipeg safe works ltd. on it and the owners name above the door, which i have not totally uncovered yet.

i noticed the lock on a very similar j baum safe with a serial number very close to mine. it appeared to have the fence at the bottom of the wheels with a heavy cast lever with a pivot point near the fence. is this possible or are they all top mount levers and fences for lack of a better term?

with a limited number of safe techs in my area, i want to be sure that in the event he/she has to drill the safe he knows the proper place to drill.

i am uploading another pic of the safe to show you what was under the green paint and i wasn't planning on sanding the door anymore. but as i look at the pic there looks like a large uppercase "A" about 5" to the left of the bottom hinge. perhaps i will try to uncover it? thank you again for your time.


Pretty much all of the Baum locks were similar, they were either their version of a Yale OB series lock, or a Yale OB series lock.   I've also seen a couple safes which were "identified" as J. Baum safes", which were straight tail piece type locks, though I believe they were not ID'd correctly.

Chances are if you have an older J. Baum, the lock will be caseless, the later ones had the Yale OB type lock case.

Straight tail piece locks are fairly easy to tell - simply turn the handle to see if it binds up the lock severely.   If it doesn't then chances are it is something else.

Generally if the safe tech does NOT have a really idea or plan of attack (and repair), then they may not know what they are doing, and simply plan on poking holes in the safe until they figure something out.   You definitely want to watch for this type of behavior or workmanship.   You need to have some type of understanding  with them that if they DON'T perform to a certain level, you will ask them to stop.    For this safe, I would consider a "reasonable opening - ONE single small hole, and a total of 2 hours (TOTAL) to open the safe, clean and repair it, recover or reset the combination, clean the site, and remove all tools, and paper work.
While I don't expect everyone to perform to my expectations, this should at least give you a basis to figure out what standard that YOU should expect from your lock or safe technician.   If they aren't confident about the job, then you want be able to get an idea of what to expect.

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

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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