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Locksmithing/Antique The Hall's Safe Co. - No Combination in Miami

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QUESTION: Hello

I have an antique safe/vault made by the Hall's Safe Co. It includes the legal disclaimer on the eagle painted on the front and it has a serial number on the handle. The door is very large - almost 6 ft tall and the door is firmly installed into the wall. The building was built in 1926/27 and the door appears to be part of the original construction. I do not have the combination and am located in Miami. Do you have any recommendations for how to get the safe opened without damaging the door. The door is in a mint condition and don't want it to be ruined by drilling a hole thru it which is what locksmiths have proposed.

Thank you
Tessa

ANSWER: Hi Tessa,

Mint condition would still be in the box, never used - so I don't think it is in mint condition.   As Hall's Safe Company has been out of business since about 1929, records are NOT going to be available to try to find out what combination may have been set on the lock when it was new.   This leaves you with TWO options:

1.   You can test dial all of the 1,000,000 possible combinations, or you can

2.   Contact a local safe company to have them open it for you, to recover or reset the combination.

Testing all of the combinations, at 500 each and every day, would only take about 5.5 years.

Opening by a trained safe technician should not damage or ruin the door.   Even if it has to be drilled, the very small hole can be easily repaired.    Obviously if done incorrectly by an untrained locksmith, you can get a lot of damage.

As parts are NOT going to be available, damage should not be tolerated.   Again if done correctly, nothing should be ruined.   Anyone that starts the conversation off with "I can open the door but will possibly ruin it" should probably be avoided!!!
Again, drilling, when done correctly will not damage the door or the lock.

If you don't have any local safe companies, let me know where you are located (zip code) and I'll see who I might know in your area.



Check with a local SAFE company, not a locksmith company to discuss the options.

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

QUESTION: Thank you for the information. I have not been able to find someone who can open the door without saying they will have to both drill and damage the lock. My zipcode is 33137 - if you know anyone in the area who might be able to help. Thanks again.

Answer
Hi Tessa,

While manipulation is possible, it isn't guaranteed, which means that you may be paying for the service and not the result.    This doesn't mean that it can't be tried.     Drilling when done correctly by a trained, professional safe technician CAN open the safe without ruining it or the lock, though again there isn't any guarantee that the lock won't be damaged.    No matter how careful you are, sometimes a drill bit simply "grabs" and sucks into the lock.    However, most professional safe techs work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging parts which may not be replaceable.

If your idea is that you want "ZERO" damage and no drilling, then you can require - manipulation only, but again - you are paying for the service and NOT the result.    The only semi guaranteed method to get a safe open would be to dial EVERY test combination for the lock on your safe to try to find the correct combination which will unlock it.
Note:   If there is  mechanical issue with the lock, then even with the correct combination, it may not open - which means you are back to square one - contacting a local safe company!Fo

For instance I had a customer earlier this year with several safes.   The first was opened by manipulation, cleaned, serviced and reset - no problems.    A couple months later he bought 6 safes at an auction, hoping for the same result.    In each case, manipulation either wasn't possible or didn't work.   They were all drilled, repaired, cleaned, serviced and reset without damaging, destroying or ruining the safes or the locks.    All were returned to service in good condition.    

I do have the name of a safe tech near you that I would expect to give you the same quality of service that I would offer, however it is up to you to discuss the job with him to determine whether you want to use him or not.

Apex Safes
305-766-8400          Michael Welch
12555 Biscayne Blvd #828
N. Miami, FL  33181
www.apexsafes.com

Hope this helps, good luck.  

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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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