Locksmithing/Cary Safe Lock


QUESTION: I have recently acquired a large Cary safe which I would like to restore. The safe is about the size of a refrigerator and has two doors.  I do not currently have the serial number handy to give you but can get it to you if necessary.  If I close the handle (with the doors open or closed) and turn the dial to the left, the handle locks.  If I then turn the dial back to the right, when it gets to the number zero it unlocks.

I contacted a local (I live in Liverpool, NY 13090) safe technician by phone to ask about this issue. He advised that the lock has been removed and that I should buy a new safe.  He was not very helpful and obviously did not understand the restoration aspect of my project.

I guess what I would really like to know is, what does the behavior of the mechanism suggest about the lock (or lack of lock)?  Also, what are my options for restoring this safe to working order, whatever the case may be?  (I understand that original replacement parts are not an option.)

Thank you for your time,



welcome to my world!   The majority of locksmiths, have no training or knowledge about safes - especially older safes, and the majority of safe technicians only care about the training and/or knowledge as far as it contributes to their opening a container, or servicing it.

I have three safe technicians in New York that I would recommend you contact.   Out of the three the first one is the only one that I'm aware of who does safe restorations.   You can discuss the work with the other two, and you can find out whether they might have a lock for your safe.    I will need the serial number to tell you what lock SHOULD be on your safe.   You can also send me photos so that I can see what help I can be.    I do have a couple Yale Y-6 or M16 locks which Cary used - but again, I will need a serial number.

Precision Lock & Safe, Inc.
516-616-0864          Elaad Israeli
240 Jericho Tpke
Floral Park, NY 11001

Mark's Professional Safe Opening
716-553*6168          Mark Swetland
441 Cherokee Dr.
Buffalo, N.Y.  14225

LaBarge Lock and Safe Technicians
518-271-0783          Dave LaBarge
Albany, NY

I hope one of them can help you.

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



Sorry for taking so long to reply.  The serial number is 166697.  I would be interested in hearing approximately when my safe was made as well as whether or not you think I need a new lock.  If so, what would it cost me to get a new lock?  Also, if there is a more convenient way to share pictures with you, I could send others however you advise.

I have reached out to Precision Lock & Safe, Inc. and not received any reply.  I will try calling them this week.

Thanks again for the help,


Hi Joel,

I would be looking at around 1921 as the year your safe was made - so while it isn't an antique yet, it is still a collectible.   The lock that I would expect to see on this safe is a three wheel Yale M-16.   This lock was the newer version of the four wheel, Yale Y-6 lock.   Main differences would be 3 vs 4 wheels, and the interior relock trigger.

I don't see your safe as needing a new lock, but then I haven't actually seen your safe yet.   usually they just need to be serviced.

I usually have people send the photos directly to my email as this site is not "photo friendly" - sorry not my site, I'm just a volunteer here.    You can send them to me at:   andy@securitysafeusa.com      Note:   I do request fairly good resolutions - 1 mb or better, and as I have a 12 mb limit on attachments, it may be necessary for you to send multiple emails with only 3 or 4 photos per email.

good luck with Dov & Elaad Israli at Precision Lock & Safe.   They are very good 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 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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