Locksmithing/Gary tittan


I got a tittan safe in some free stuff on Craigslist
The man who gave me the safe said it came with the house he just sold he nor the previous owners ever looked inside it
And I got no combination with it
How do I get it opened
It is searia #7481

Hi Tom,

Well the good news is you got the safe as "free stuff", now you just have to decide if the cost to have it opened is still worth it.

The Gary Safe Company merged in the early 1980's with Allied Security to form "Allied Gary", later changing to Allied Gary International.   They were then acquired by the NKL Safe Company in the early 1990's, and a few years later (1999) by FireKing International.    While FireKing International is the current owner of the "GARY" logo, it is not, and has no connections with the original Gary Safe Company.

There are no longer any records available to search through for the original combinations.   Manufacturers NEVER publish this type of info for obvious security and liability reasons, and after going through several ownership changes, all of the original records are lost or gone.

What does this mean for you???   Well basically you have two options to have the safe opened and operational, you can test all of the 1,000,000 possible combinations for the lock, or you can take it to a local safe company to have it opened and the combination either recovered or reset.   Cost - if you take it in to them - should be in the $250 to $350 range.   They should also service the lock to ensure proper operation.   As this safe is from the early 1960's, chances are it has never had any service work done to it.

Note:   I never recommend using locksmiths for safe work, as they generally don't have the training or knowledge to work on them without causing excessive damage.   As there are no parts available for these older safes, you will want it opened with no damage to the lock or operating bolt work.    Anyone that indicates that they can open the safe but may ruin it in the process should probably be avoided.

Check your local yellow pages under "safes & vaults" for a local safe company.    Discuss the project with them to determine price and how they plan on opening it.    While manipulation is possible, it may not be practical.    They may not have someone skilled in manipulation on staff.    Drilling, when done correctly will NOT hurt the safe, and the usually small hole (1/4" hole or smaller) can easily be repaired.

If you can't find a local safe company, provide me with your zipcode, and I'll see who I might know and/or recommend in your area.

If you have any questions concerning proposed methods for opening your safe, please feel free to run it by me BEFORE you have the work done as afterwards is simply crying over spilt milk.

Hope this helps,


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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)

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.