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Re: antique safe combinations

Posted By: Ken Dunckel Safecracker-Boxman <kendunckel@aol.com> (cache-rh03.proxy.aol.com)
Date: 6/17/4 07:14

In Response To: Re: antique safe combinations (Mike)

Diebold & Kienzle was a short collaboration during the time period you referenced. Diebold, Incorporated is still in business (since about mid-1800s) and is is still thriving.

You won't find many old safes still set on their original combinations, because nearly all combination locks were designed to allow combination changing once they were in use by a home or business.

Though some safe makers do file the combinations that were set at the factory, most of the old time makers did not. Even those that do this today have cutoff dates as to how far back their combination records go.

Most safe users are not reassured by the knowledge that somewhere their combination is recorded. For this reason safe and vault service companies usually don't record and file combination settings either, for security and liability reasons.

If you have a locked safe for which the combination is lost or forgotten, you should call a safe company near you and get a price quote for opening it. Look in the Yellow Pages under "Safes" first, and if there are no listings try "Locksmiths."

Safes should be the first heading you look under because you know these listings refer to companies that specialize in safes. Though some locksmiths are highly skilled and well equipped for safe opening, not all of them are. An unskilled safe opening attempt can result in unnecessary and sometimes unrepairable damage. Don't hire anyone who isn't certain of the result they will get for you, and certainly don't pay for a failed attempt.

Some safemen can open safes without doing any damage by a process called manipulation (using sight, sound, and touch combined with knowledge of the lock design and function) but not all are skilled in this technique. Also, not all safes will yield to even a skilled manipulator. Those need to be drilled and repaired.

Opening by drilling doesn't mean the safe is ruined. A skilled safeman can drill and repair very neatly, often to the point it won't be noticeable to the untrained eye.

Last, don't stipulate to the safe opener that he must manipulate and not drill. What you buy is the result, not the process. It's like telling your auto mechanic that he can work on your car only if he uses tools you specify. If the safeman you hire knows how to manipulate, he (or she) will want it to open by manipulation more than you do, so you won't have to stipulate to get that technician's best effort. But even skilled manipulators must abandon that technique and drill sometimes.

If you're looking for a skilled safeman in your locale, visit the public forum at clearstar.com and post your needs along with your locale. That site is frequented by skilled safemen from all fifty states, as well as some other countries. Someone there can either put you in touch with a safeman or might even be local to you. Ken Dunckel Owner, Safecracker --- Serving San Francisco Bay Area & Northern CA Editor/Publisher Boxman

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