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Hello, I recently purchased a house that was built in 1959 and has a Mosler safe built into the foundation of the house in an exterior wall in my basement. The previous owner was a family member who owned the house since the early 70's and never had the combo from the original owner. This is a picture of the safe and it has a number data plate on the front of the safe. Everything on the internet pertaining to opening it without the known combination just leads me to "call a locksmith" but id like a little more info on this safe before I do that because it doesn't really seem all that sturdy. Any info is appreciated, thank you.

Hi Gary,

This safe was one of the "Mosler-Protectall, Custodian series, round door wall safes.   Mosler made these from the late 1940's through the late 1950's.   The lock that I would expect to find installed would be a Mosler B103-D series locks, with three pin change wheels, offering 25 possible combination numbers per wheel.   Unfortunately the wheels can have variations for the 25 positions, and usually they would also provide odd-even-odd, or even-odd-even wheels - so from the outside there is no way of telling WHAT the variations might be - meaning that you basically have 1,000,000 possible combinations to try.

The dialing sequence for this lock is going to be:

4 times right to the first number,
3 times left to the second number,
2 times right to the third number,
1 time left slowly until the dial stops - you should be able to open the door now.

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.

As for your "calling a locksmith" - I NEVER recommend using a locksmith for safe work.   They generally do not have the training, knowledge or tools to work on safes without causing excessive damage and/or charging exhorbant fees.    As there are no repair parts available for this safe or lock, if you plan on using it, then you shouldn't except any damage to it.

That being said, drilling the door, when done correctly by a trained safe technician, will NOT damage the door or lock, and usually repair parts will not be necessary.   The very small, single hole drilled in the door can easily be repaired and after the combination is recovered or reset the container should be useable.

If you don't have a SAFE COMPANY in your area, with a trained safe tech, then let me know where you are located (zipcode), and I'll see who I might know or recommend in your area.

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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