Locksmithing/A locked safe


My 94 yr old uncle is going into a nursing home.  He has a Mosler Brahmann safe that is locked.  He does not know the combination after all these years.  We were unable to find any kind of serial number.  It is cemented into the wall.  On the front of the safe are the words: Mosler Brahmann, Cincinnati,
pat. Jan 2 1883. Below that is a picture of a flower.  Below the flower it says:  B.F.Smith, Chicago, Agt for the Northwest.  On the dial are the words  "Bahmann & Co" along with several patent dates.  Are you aware of any way to find a combination or way to open this safe.  It is quite large.  I would guess approximately 30-36" square.

Hi Karen,

Mosler, Bahmann & Company was in business from about 1867 until the mid to late 1890's.    Manufactures NEVER published any information about their safes, especially original combinations, for obvious security and liability reasons.   Unfortunately the movies and the internet seem to portray the industry as this info is easily available and/or that safe makers used or had a "default" combination - there is no such thing.
Even if you found a serial number, about the best it is going to give us is a "time frame" that the safe may have been built between.

So to your basic question "am I aware of any way to find a combination or to open the safe" - yes I am.   You basically have two options if your uncle can't remember any of the numbers.

1.   You can test dial all of the possible combinations that the lock on the safe may have.   The lock that was a Yale 063-1/2, four wheel lock with about 100,000,000 possible combinations.   Testing 500 each and every day would only take you about 530 years!!!!

2.   Have a trained safe technician from a local safe company open the safe and recover the combination for you.

Check your local yellow pages under "safes & vaults" for a local company.    If you don't have one, let me know where you are located (zip code) and I'll see who I might know and/or recommend in your area.  


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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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