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Locksmithing/Mc caskey register safe


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I was give a McCaskey register safe and a 4 digit combination but I cant see to figure out how to open it. the last digit is zero
I tried clearing it by turning the lock 5 times to the right stopped on zero
4 times to the left to the number
3 times right to the second number
2 times left to the third number
1 time right to zero (also went passed to see if it would stop some where) I tied using the line on front of safe as well as the line that looks like a chicken foot to stop on
wont open any suggestions?

Hi Todd,

While McCaskey Register Company did manufacture a small line of safes between 1903-1953, many of the safes sold under their label were not manufactured by this company.    I will have to see much better photos of your safe, after it is opened, to try to determine who actually made this safe.

As far as the dialing sequences that you are using, I'll start off with your "turning the dial right 5 times to clear the lock" - I don't know where people come up with this idea, but when you "lock the lock" the last time it was opened, you successfully cleared it.    Any more spinning or turning of the dial is for your benefit and doesn't "clear" the lock any further.   As long as YOU understand that you are doing this for your benefit and if YOU feel that you need to do this to give yourself a starting point then I'm okay with it, HOWEVER, it isn't part of the dialing sequence and basically is simply a waste of your time and effort.

The dialing sequence for the lock that I would expect to find on your safe should be:

4 times left to the first number,
3 times right to the second number,
2 times left to the third number,
1 time right until the dial stops.

Note:   Left is counter clockwise and right is clockwise.   DO NOT count the revolutions of the dial, count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.   For instance if your first number is 50, simply begin turning the dial counter clockwise, stopping at the number 50 the fourth time it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

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

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

Problem with receiving safes from someone else, is that most times they give you the combination the way that THEY understand it and not necessarily the way that it operates.   This goes especially with the turning directions - many people DON'T understand the rights and lefts.    If you dial it as above and it still won't open, then try reversing the directions or RLRL instead of LRLR.

If it still won't open, then you may not have the correct numbers.    Regardless of how many years someone has dialed a safe open, when asked to show you or write it down, they often get easily confused.   Once they make a mental error, they will lock in and continue the error for some time.    I had a lady today that insisted she was using the correct numbers, after playing with the lock for a bit, I was able to figure out that she had mentally transferred the first number from 71 to 17 - it looked the same, and she insisted that she had been using it for years.

At this point there is nothing to lead me to believe that it is a mechanical error.   If you still can't get it open, then it may be time to have it checked out by a trained safe tech, from a local safe company.

Hope this helps,


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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

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

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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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