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Locksmithing/Gaby safe found built into counter


I recently moved some items from a counter top in what was once the kitchen of an old church (South Gate, CA). After opening part of the counter top I discovered a metal safe built down into and underneath the counter with the door being on the top. The door is circular and on it is a small plaque that ready Gaby Safe Co., Los Angeles, 39096. Any ideas on how old this safe might be? and how to open it? Thank you.

Hi Katie,

Your safe is a "GARY" safe, not a Gaby safe.   This company was actually in "The City of Industry", CA, about 20 miles from you.

They manufactured safes from the early 1960's until they merged with Allied Security and moved to Seattle in the early 1980's.    Later on the brand was sold to NKL Industries and both were acquired by Fire King International.    While the Gary brand is still made by FireKing, it is NOT the same company any longer.
So in answer to your question, your safe would have been made between the early 60's to the early 80's.

As far as ideas on how to open it - of course I have ideas on how to open it, unfortunately YOU only have two options.
1.   You can test dial the 1,000,000 possible combinations until you find the correct one, or
2.   You can have a safe technician from a local safe company open it for you.

NOTE:  As parts are NOT going to be available for the safe, door or lock, it needs to be opened as damage free as possible.   While manipulation is possible it may not be feasible.   You may not have anyone in your area trained in this technique, and more importantly it is never guaranteed.   You may wind up paying for the service and Not the result.
Drilling is an option as long as it is done professionally.    In general the single, small (1/4" or smaller) hole can easily be repaired, and if done correctly the lock should NOT be damaged.   The combination can be recovered or reset and the safe made optional.

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

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

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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