Locksmithing/old carey safe


carey safe
carey safe  
QUESTION: I have a large old carey safe I would like to open.i do not know the combo and have looked all around the old garage for clues.serial # 21723...do not want to drill or cut open.

ANSWER: Connie,

The name is "CARY" - with no "e".

Based on the serial number your safe would have been made between 1888-1890.   The lock that I would expect to see on this safe would be a Yale 062-1/2 series, 4 wheel lock.   As there were only about 4000 to 5000 of these safes made, it makes them one of the rarest models.

As far as opening the safe goes, your options are limited - while I would hunt you down and beat you with a stick if you had this safe "cut" open, drilling is not a bad option.    When done correctly by a trained safe technician, it will not hurt the safe, the lock or the value.   If done incorrectly by someone with little or no training, then you could easily ruin it.

While manipulation is a possibility, as this lock is a 4 wheel, offset, gear drive lock, it would not be easy, even for a trained & experienced manipulator.    Manipulation is never a guaranteed method and you WILL be paying for the service and NOT the result (safe open).

Your last option would be to try all of the possible combinations available, with a four wheel lock you have approximately 100,000,000 possible combinations.   Testing 5000 combinations every day, would ONLY take about 55 years to test them all.

Unfortunately, you may be in an area that is rather sparse for trained safe technicians.   if you don't have a local safe company, let me know where you are located (zipcode) and I'll see who I know in your area.    Note:   While I never recommend locksmiths due to lack of training, knowledge and proper tools, you may not have a choice.

Dialing sequence for the lock would be:

5 times right to the first number,
4 times left to the second number,
3 times right to the third number,
2 times left to the fourth number,
1 time right slowly, until the dial stops.   Turn the handle to open the safe.

Note:   Left is counter clockwise, right is clockwise.   Don't count the revolutions of the dial, count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

Hope this helps,

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

QUESTION: Are there any manufacturer set combos to try first. I really would love to manipulate it and not even sure if anything is in it anyways. Love hearing how old it is so definitely will not cut it.It does fit the age of the homestead.Thank you for the information on the lock that gives me a good start.

Hi Connie,

Sorry, manufacturers generally set every safe on its on unique combinations.   Many times after the safe was sold, or in subsequent years, the combination could have been changed several times.

As the Cary Safe Company only made a total of about 207,000 safes - it would have been very easy to do a different combination for every safe, and never even come close to duplicating a combination.   SORRY!

As I mentioned your choices are limited to testing all of the possible combinations for the lock that is on your safe, or having a safe technician from a local safe company (NOT a locksmith), open it for you.

Wish I had a better solution for you, but if safes were easy to get into, they wouldn't be "safe"!  


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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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