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Locksmithing/Grandmother's old safe


Good Afternoon,

My grandmother has an old 9031 montgomery wards safe that she has lost the combination to. It is combination only, no keys. We have searched everywhere but are unable to find it. What options do we have for getting into the safe. It has important papers such as birth certificates, wills, passports etc.

Hi Nikki,

The safe was actually made by the Meilink Safe Company FOR Montgomery Wards.    Meilink was purchased by FireKing International in about 1990.   They only maintain records for the past 10 years, so they wouldn't have any thing which would help you out.

So your options are rather limited to:

1.   You can test dial all possible combinations for your safe.    The lock on this container, made specifically for Meilink, is a three wheel, hand change version with 1,000,000 possible combinations.    Testing 500 variations each day, every day, would only take about 5.5 years, though hopefully you would find the correct combination long before testing them all.

2.   You can have it opened by a trained safe technician from a local safe company.    A trained safe technician will NOT ruin your safe opening it up, and they can recover your combination so that it is still useable.    Cost for this service can run between $350 to $500.

If you can take the safe in to a local safe company they can possibly open it cheaper than if they make a house call.    Check your local yellow pages under "safes & vaults" for a nearby company.

If you don't have one, then let me know where you are located (zip code) and I'll see who I might know and/or recommend in your area.

Sorry I don't have a better answer for you, but hopefully this will give you some direction.


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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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