You are here:

Locksmithing/Herring's & Farrell safe


I have a safe with Herring's PT on the left wheel bracket. It has no right wheel. Through research it looks like a Herring's & Farrel safe pictured on this site. The lock is a Sargent & Greenleaf, patent 1906. My father passed and left the combination. I do not know the procedure to open it. This is the combination format I have with incorrect numbers.
R 3x 40
L 2x 80
R 50 - open
According to what I have read this seems wrong. I will take pictures today so I have them if needed. Thank you for your help.

Hi Todd,

As both Herring & Farrel were no longer in business after 1892 - so the lock may have been changed out at some point - unless someone figured out that "time travel" thing!

As for the correct dialing sequence for the "lock installed", I would need much more info about it, as there were both 3 & 4 wheels locks.

What I can tell you from your description of the dialing sequence - is that it is not correct for standard S&G locks.   That being said, as the lock WAS replaced, there is no way of telling WHAT was done to the lock as well.

The correct dialing sequence for a three wheel lock is:

4 times left to the first number  -   40
3 times right to the second number   -  80
2 times left to the third number,   -  50
1 time right until the dial stops - should be around 90

Note:    left is counter clockwise, right is clockwise.    Do not count the revolutions of the dial, count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index.

There are ONLY three reasons a safe lock won't work - in order, they are:

1.   Incorrect dialing sequence, operator errors
2.   Incorrect combination, wrong numbers
3.   mechanical problems

In your case, it appears that it may be a combination of both items 1 & 2.    You may not have the correct numbers and/or the sequence is probably not written correctly.    Many times people pass combinations along the way that THEY understand them, and NOT necessarily the way that the lock works.

Currently, I would recommend using the above dialing sequence, if it still won't operate, then you may need to have it checked out and/or opened by a safe technician from a local safe company.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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)

©2016 All rights reserved.