You are here:

Locksmithing/Major floor safe won't open


Major floor safe
Major floor safe  
I am following up on a recent answer to a woman who had (after 18 yrs) found the combination to a Major round floor safe, but it wouldn't open. I have the same problem. I have the combination and have dialed it what would seem to be correctly several times. It was serviced 6 years ago (same problem then) and probably been opened a max of 10 times since then. It has  been less than 2 years since last opened. The locksmith who serviced it did not drill or anything special.  My husband remembers he just seemed to use the combination and open it.  As far as I can tell there has been no water damage. The dial spins easily. The circular top in which the lock resides also spins around easily but won't open. What kinds of mechanical problems might it be, and is there anything I might be overlooking before I call the locksmith again?   (He is the one who sold us the safe, used, as well. Thank you.

Hi Mary,

There are ONLY three reasons that a safe lock won't operate correctly or unlock.   In order they are:

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

In general, if it is a mechanical issue, then you will need a trained safe tech to check it out.   This is a hands on type issue to diagnose and figure out what the problem is.

Based on your comments though, I'm more inclined to think that you are either making a dialing error, or possibly have the numbers in the wrong sequence.    As often as you use the safe, these would be a more likely scenario.
Similarly as you indicated when you had this problem several years ago, the "locksmith" seemed to simply "dial it open".    This again indicates that you were either not dialing it correctly or possibly had the numbers out of sequence.

Note:   If the safe has not been serviced in years, it is possible for the combination to be off slightly.     Just like watches - the lock needs to be serviced and reset occasionally to keep it accurate.
You might try adding and subtracting  (+/- 1) to each number.   If it isn't off too far it may open up.

The correct dialing sequence for the lock on your safe would 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 - (may be your last number.

Note:   DO NOT count the revolutions of the dial, count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark (on the tag).    Left is counter clockwise, right is clockwise (as shown on the tag).

For instance if your first number is 50, you will turn the dial counter clockwise (left), stopping the fourth time the number 50, arrives at the index.

If you still can't get it I would recommend that you contact a local safe company.   I generally don't recommend locksmiths for safe work.   Check your yellow pages under "safes & vaults" for local companies.    If you don't have anyone locally, let me know where you are located (zip code) and I'll see who I might know in your area.

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

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 All rights reserved.