Locksmithing/mosler safe and lock


I have a moslar safe from 1880 the serial number on the handle on the front of the door is 10 98 66. I have been studying the locksmithing field for over a year now. and a friend of my family's acquired this safe that has no combination apparently the person who had it the combination passed away I know I can open it if I had a few pointers on how to go about recovering the combination this particular safe weighs 35 to 4000 pounds its walls appear to be full of concrete the dial itself has 1988 and four or five other dates, engraved on it I just want it to stay in the family and reusable

Hi Jimmy,

I'm not sure where you got a date of 1880 from, but your safe is NOT from 1880.

The dates on the dial are the dates that various patents were issued.   You can't possibly have a safe which was built BEFORE the patents were issued for the lock.    Even today, time travel doesn't exist - sorry.

With a serial number of 109866 your safe would have been made between 1893 to 1896.

Sorry but there are no "pointers" for opening your safe.    If you don't have the combination, you are limited to only a couple options.    Depending on the actual model of your safe, you could easily have a three wheel or four wheel lock.   This would give you around 1,000,000 (3 wheel) to 100,000,000 (4 wheel) possible test combinations.

For obvious security and liability reasons we DO NOT give out ANY opening procedures other than possible correct dialing sequences for the lock we would expect to find on your safe.   We have no idea who you are, what your relationship to the safe is, and/or whether or not you actually have permission to work on it.   As this site is an "OPEN FORUM", any info passed to you would be available to person's who may not be trust worthy.

Your other option would be to contact a local safe company to have your safe opened.

Your third option, which I wouldn't normally even present as an option, would be to leave the safe set until after you have finished your locksmith studies, and advance to safe training.   There are several areas of study that you need under your belt BEFORE you begin working on and/or ruin the safe.   All of these levels of study require that you complete basic Locksmithing as a pre-requisite.

1.  Basic Safe Servicing          to learn how a safe lock actually works.
2.  Safe lock diagnostics         Advanced basics
3.  Basic Safe opening          gives you very basic info on opening the safe.
4.  Advanced Safe opening         teaches more advanced techniques
5.  Basic manipulation          Basic opening of combination locks when the combination is lost.
6.  Advanced manipulation         Advanced methods

Schools would include LSI (Lockmasters Security Institute)   http://www.lsieducation.com/courses/

Mark Bates & Associates    http://www.mbausa.com/courseSchedules.asp

Organizations for you to join to assist you also:

Safe & Vault Technicians Association  (SAVTA)    www.savta.org
National Safemen's Organization   (NSO)   www.davemcomie.com

I would recommend NSO as a good place to start, as Dave is one of the leading authors of many good safe books, and he writes for the National Locksmith magazine.

Obviously to join any of these organizations or schools, you will need some credentials showing that you are a student or in the industry, and submit to a background check.

If you are interested in saving the safe and/or restoring it to stay in your family, then do it the right way - get the correct training or hire someone who has the correct training to open the safe, then you can begin restoring it.

Welcome to the industry, hope you take advantage of some of the resources I've provide you with.


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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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