Locksmithing/Cole Steel Safe

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Question
Good evening.
My dad was given an wonderful old Cole Steel cabinet with a safe inside.  I believe the gentleman he got it from had never used it, but rather just closed the door and flipped the combination.  I was wondering if Cole had a standard combination that came with the safe and up to the buyer to change?  Or did they all have specific combinations?
If they came with a standard combination, do you happen to know what that was?

Answer
Hi Patti,

Sorry, but there is no such thing as "try out combinations", "standard combinations" or "default combinations".   Every container had its own individual and specific combination.

If you don't have the combination, then you have two options to get it open, you can test all of the 1,000,000 possible combinations or you can have it opened by a safe technician from a local safe company.

While there aren't actually 1,000,000 combinations, from the outside, you don't have the luxury of determining the limits, so you would have to test them all.   At 500 per day it would only take you about 5.3 years to test them all.

The dialing sequence for this lock is:

4 times left to the first number,
3 times right to the second number,
2 times left to the third number,
1 time right until the dial stops.

If you still can't get it open, then I would recommend that you contact a local safe company to have their safe tech open it for you.    Note:   I never recommend using locksmiths for safe work, as they generally don't have the training, knowledge or tools to work on safes without causing excessive damage or charging excessive fees.

Sorry I don't have a better answer, and/or this is not what you were expecting, but if they used a standard combination, or if the manufacturer published the combinations, safes would not be very safe!

If you don't have a local safe company, let me know where you are located (zip code) and I'll see who I might know in your area.

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

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.

Experience

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".

Organizations
SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA)

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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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