Locksmithing/Mosler

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Question
"I have a mosler serial# 18824-15 model# 12 found it in a old house that I bought in the auction is there any way you might be able to help me get the combonation to open it or some helpful hints that i might try im sure that there is nothing in it but would like to use the safe for my personal use.
It looks like a fridge an sure I could use it to keep my valuables in it.
Thanks"

Answer
Hi Leo,

Your safe was made around 1967.    Unfortunately, MOSLER has been out of business since 2001, so contacting them to check records for the original combination is going to be slightly difficult.

Depending on how your safe was originally sold, it would have had either a unique combination, or it would have been set on the factory combo of 50-25-50.   Safes which were set on the standard factory combination were meant to have a combination set when it was delivered to the first owner.   If you don't have the option of contacting previous owners of the property to see if they have any records, then for all intents and purposes they don't exist.

This basically leaves you with two options.   You can either Test all possible combinations that may have been set on the lock installed on your safe (1,000,000 possible), or you can have it opened by a safe technician from a local safe company.    Testing 500 combinations every day would only take you about 5.5 years to test them all, though hopefully you would find the correct combination before you test them all.

As far as anything being in the safe - generally people do not abandon safes with "stuff" still inside.   The caveat to this would be a death in the family, where no one has the combination but the deceased.   However, not many relatives would leave the safe unopened!

As far as using it to keep your valuables in, I have to caution you to first determine what you actually have.    Fire resistive safes are designed to protect documents from fire - they are NOT burglary resistive safes.    Burglary resistive safes are designed to keep people out of your safe, but they are not designed to protect your stuff from fire or heat.   Composite safes generally provide some level of both fire and burglary resistance.

Please note the use of the term "resistance" and NOT proof.   There is no such thing as a fire "PROOF" or burglary "PROOF" safe.   Safes provide a limited amount of protection for specific periods of time.    The better the safe the more time that you are protected - or the longer it takes for fire to heat it up, or a burglar to break in.

If you decide to have the safe opened but don't want to turn it into a 5 year family project, then I would recommend your contacting a local safe company to have their trained safe tech open your safe.   Cost will vary based on different companies and the type of safe you have, however anyone that can't give you a flat rate fee (all inclusive with no hidden numbers), may not actually know what they are doing.    Anyone who indicates that they can open your safe, but may ruin it in doing so, should also be avoided like the plague!    If you wanted the safe ruined you might as well make it a DIY project.

If you don't have any local safe companies, then let me know where you are located (zip code) and I'll see if I know and/or would recommend anyone in your area.

Hope this helps,

Locksmithing

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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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