You are here:

Locksmithing/Royal Safe with Protectall Dial & Lock



Several questions about a Royal Safe with a Protectall combination Dial & Lock.

But 1st, here’s the specs of the safe, dial and lock.

  Safe:   It seems to be about 4.6 cubic feet of storage space with a class C fire code.  Can only find a serial #, no model #.

  Dial:  I believe:
     (1)  it has 100 marked positions on the Dial; labeled with the words “Protectall” and “Syracuse” on the dial.

  Lock.  Attached to the door on the inside and incased to the Dial Pin is a rectangle box with a removable lid.

     (1)  It consists of (a) 1 slotted Lock Cam next to door; (b) 2 Wheels in the middle ; & furthest from the door is another Cam with a slot.
     (2)  It appears that the Lock Cam turns the first wheel, then     the first wheel turns the second wheel which      in turn turns the second (last) cam.     Then the lever bar drops into the first Cam Gate when rotated back to the 2nd combination number, thus retracting the Lock

     (3)  When you turn to the first combination # & rotate in the opposite direction to the second #, it unlocks.

If this was the more common dial combination lock, I would guess two cams = only 2 numbers??!!
I would further guess the reason for having the 2 smaller wheels
is to add more revolutions of the dial in order to reach the first number??!!

I know the 2 numbers and they unlock the safe regardless of whether you begin rotating the dial clockwise or counter-clockwise. The combination according to seller has been changed to facilitate the opening the safe faster according to the person he purchased the safe from.  [So he says]

Note:  I have read many of your replies going back to 2010 on Protectall safes trying to find info about the mechanism of Protectall combination locks.

Now here are my “information only” questions:
  (1)  Do you think the Dial and Lock are not the original ones to this safe??
  (2)  If not, what brand of Dial and Lock did Royal use??
  (3)  Does the safe’s installation contain asbestos??

Now for the “main” questions.

  (1)  Since it only takes at best 2 combinations to open the safe as is, I wonder if someone has done something to take out one of the other numbers.  I tend to believe that one of the numbers is missing to the original combination because this safe has a spring loaded tension mechanism which will cause the safe to lock and override the dial if Bolt Lock is broken into.  So, why have only 2 numbers if one goes to the trouble to add this feature to the safe.  My problem is that this combination lock seems to be so different from the norm of combination locks for safes and I cannot figure out how it is originally worked.
  (1)  Would you explain the mechanics of how this type of combination lock would have originally worked??  Since I can’t afford to spend a lot more monies on the safe, I am left to do it for myself. [I have limited access to my cousin’s machine shop to mill parts if the need arises.]???
  (2)  What are some possibilities did someone do to kill at least 1 on the combination numbers, possibly 2???  It APPEARS [Remember, I am only a novice, at best] the box does NOT have room for any more Cams or Wheels.

Thanks much for you time!!


Hi Gerry,

Wow, this is almost a homework question!

First I'll address your "note" concerning my postings going back to 2010 - One rule that I have always expressed is "identification, identification, identification"!!!!

As there was NOT a "Royal Safe Company", chances are your safe was either relabeled or it simply has a sales label by a company that sold it at some point.

this brings us to step #1 - we need to actually ID what the safe is, in order to answer any of your questions!

Basic History of Protectall:

In the early 1930's a successful Syracuse retailer named George Bloch began a safe manufacturing plant by the name of Protectall.   With Bloch's sharp wit and business savvy, Protectall was soon doing a very respectable business.    All of the prosperity soon attracted the attention of the Mosler Safe Company, who eventually bought the company (early 1940's).   After the acquisition, Edward Mosler was appointed to head the company in Syracuse.    With the help of Henry Bluestone, who ran the sales department when Bloch owned Protectall.    Mosler successfully ran the company until 1949 when Mr. Mosler, Sr. decided to close the Syracuse plant and consolidate it into the main Mosler facility in Hamilton, OH.

So I would assume that the safe is either an actual Protectall - or more than likely it is a Mosler Protectall.

As far as answering specific questions about the lock - Sorry, but I will have to actually see the lock to try to give you an idea of what is wrong with it, or to see if I can tell what you are describing.
Again, I can't describe the workings of a lock when I don't even know what you have!     Sorry but my wife broke my crystal ball about the same time she killed my money tree!   LOL

As far as a three wheel lock being set to two numbers - while this isn't "common", it can be done to allow easier dialing.    Sorry, but some people just can't seem to get the 4-3-2-1 thing!
In fact I have one of my antique safes with a four wheel lock set to a single number for ease of opening, as I only use this safe as a display item.

As far as my taking time to teach you about safe lock operation so that you can disassemble, repair and reinstall the locks - sorry but that's not going to happen!    Not that I don't want you to have the info - I simply don't have the time or space here.    A "BASIC" safe service class takes around 1 week, with the pre-requisite that you already have locksmith training.
There are classes available if you are interested but as you have already indicated that money is an issue then I suppose that this isn't an option either.

Ultimately - Bottom line - my recommendation would be to have a trained safe technician check it out and repair it correctly to ensure proper operation.    Cost to have the service done is going to be substantially less than having the safe opened after you accidently lock it up and can't open it.

In order to answer specific questions, identify, evaluate or appraise your safe, I'm going to need photos.  They should include full exterior and interior.  Detail photos should include pictures of the dial, handles, hinges, artwork, locks, bolt work, castors, cabinetry and any special details or damage.  Note:  You may have to remove the back panel on the door to gain access to the lock & bolt work – I will need these pics.
If you have a particular detail that you have a question about, I will need a photo of it along with your question.

I will also need to see any documentation that you have in regards to your safe.  If your safe has a unique historical perspective, you should be able to document this with letters, newspaper articles or photos, if not it is simply a story and will have no bearing on the value of your safe.

Please use as high a resolution as possible so that I can examine details of your safe.  Pictures which are low resolution, out of focus, or from a distance don’t help when we try to evaluate the container.  Note:  with higher resolution, you may only be able to send 2-4 pictures per email, depending on the size of the file, I have a 12mb limit per email.  If photos are larger than 2mb each, you may only be able to send 2 or 3 photos per email, requiring several emails.

Please don’t send me “cell phone” photos, unless they are very clear and of sufficient resolution.   Also, please don’t use online, internet photo drops as most of these also don’t allow me to easily access the photos for examination.   Send the pics directly to me, while this may be more work for you, it will make my job easier.

Please send all of the requested photos to:

Note:  As I am in the field several days each week, covering a huge service area, I may not get back to your photos immediately, but I will respond as soon as I get an opportunity.  Due to field work, emails may tend to get backed up which means I may not answer them immediately.

After I get all of the photos requested above, and have a chance to actually ID the safe and lock, I might be able to answer some of your questions, but as indicated above - that is going to be the extent of the conversation - this is NOT a training service - sorry!

Hope this helps.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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)

©2017 All rights reserved.