Locksmithing/Zip code


I wrote to you about this in 2012. Here is my zip code if you could recommend a locksmith for me.
Thanks so much for all your help ---

Andy - I have a safe with the following info on the front:

       "Herring's Patent Champion"
        Herring, Farrell & Sherman
         New York
(Pin keyslot)>[ ]( Knob ) < (Number "27473")
  PT May 18th 1862          Feb 7th 1865

(on legs)>
  Herring St          Farrell St

I'm sorry I don't have a photo right now - It's very dark in our basement. The pin key has been lost. Is there a way we can "crack" the safe? My father put documents in there...
Thanks for any direction you can give.


Very few safe technicians and even fewer locksmiths are able to open this safe, so I guess the answer would be - short of destroying the safe - NO, you won't be able to crack the safe.

There are only a few people in the country that I would recommend opening your safe and few of them have the capability of making keys for them.

This is a very unique safe lock that probably 90% of the guys in the industry have never even seen one of these locks up close.

My recommendation would be to scour the house for the key.

If you can't find it, let me know where you and/or the safe are located (zipcode) and I'll see who I can recommend in your area.

On a side note, I'm not sure why your father is keeping his documents in this safe.  While it was a pretty good safe 150 years ago, it no longer provides protection from fire or burglaries.  As it IS an antique, having it damaged by having it in a fire or burglarized, or worse being destroyed by a locksmith that doesn't know what he's doing will cost you more than you will realize.

Anyway send me your location and I'll see who I know.

ANSWER: Hi Mary,

Your zipcode did not come through.    I do have a couple contacts that I might recommend but as I don't know exactly where you are it's hard to be precise.

1.  Hanover Lock & Safe
Lock Defeat Technology
781-871-4346          Phil Shearer
990 Washington St.
Hanover, MA 02339

2.  LaBarge Lock & Safe Techs
Albany, NY
518-271-0783          Dave LaBarge

3.  Mark's Professional Safe Opening
716-553-6168          Mark Swetland
441 Cherokee Dr.
Buffalo, NY 14225

4.  Precision Lock & Safe, Inc.
516-616-0854          Elaad Israeli
240 Jericho Tpke
Floral Park, NY 11001

These four guys are some of the best safe crackers in the New York area, besides being able to open the safe they should be able to make keys for the lock.  You can check with them to see if one can help you and/or they may know of someone closer that they can recommend.

Hope this helps,

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

QUESTION: Thanks so much, Andy - some of these guys are farther away from me - my Zip is 14891. Hopefully, we can find someone closer.

Hi Mary,

Unfortunately these ARE the closest safe techs that I would recommend, based on the work that you need done.

If you want the safe opened without destroying it AND/OR you need keys made for the lock, then you are extremely limited to who has the capabilities.   If you are looking for a neighborhood locksmith, then chances are you aren't going to be happy with the results if they destroy or ruin the safe trying to open it up.

Your lock is a special lock, and very few safe techs, much less locksmiths have any real experience working on, opening up or making keys for them.

Fortunately, most safe techs are used to traveling.   For instance my service area on the west coast is about 120,000 square miles, covering all of northern California from Fresno to Oregon including western Nevada.    While traveling will add some cost to the overall fee if you can't take the safe to them, then they will have to come to you.

Estimated cost for them to come to you (mobile service charge), open the safe without ruining or destroying it, and make a set of keys for the lock could easily run around $1000 to $1500, depending on what access to the lock they have.

Generally JUST to make a key for these locks you would be looking at around $350 for the first key and possibly $125 for a second key.    If I make them at the same time, I can do many of the steps in machining the key at the same time for both keys, possibly keeping the overall costs down - but this gives you some ideas.

If you only want the safe opened at this time, and you will wait to make repairs or have keys made until later, then the cost could be much lower, but you are possibly still going to be looking at around $500 to $750 to have it opened only.

Sorry, I wish I had a better answer,  


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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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