Locksmithing/cole comb. lock



I purchased a business that utilized a Cole File cabinet that has combination safe behind a keyed door. The safe is open and the former owner of the business never used it because he did not know the combination.  

Is there a way to figure out the combination? On the inside of the door there is a hole where you can see something spinning when you turn the safe dial and this "wheel" that you can see spin has a notch that appears periodically.

Please help if you can, Thanks, Ted.

Hi Ted,

The little "peak hole" in the rear of the lock is how you determine the combination that the lock is currently set on.

Using the dialing sequence, you will observe the wheels as they pass in the peak hole.   When a wheel gate aligns in the hole, you need to observe the corresponding number on the dial, at the 12 o'clock index mark.
After you obtain the numbers for each wheel, you should be able to successfully dial it open.

The dialing sequence should be:

4 times left to the first number (first wheel you can observe)
3 times right to the second number (next wheel)
2 times left to the third number (furthest wheel in the peak hole)
1 time right until the dial stops - the lock bolt should be fully retracted at this point.

While you can note the final number as a reference point - this number won't change.

Note:   Left is counter clockwise, Right is clockwise (observing the dial).    Do not count the revolutions of the dial, count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

If you have trouble with these instructions or still can't obtain the combination, then I would recommend having it checked out by a safe technician from a local safe company.    Have them check the lock out to ensure proper operation, and recover or reset the combination for you.

Hope this helps.


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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 40 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of two Tilton & McFarland safes from the 1860'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.


40 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. 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

SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association

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 - 2014 - 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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