York Town Square

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Common question: How do I crack my York Safe & Lock safe?

York, Pa.’s artisan Othmar Carli stands before one of his restoration projects – a 5,000-pound steel safe. The safe is one of many York Safe & Lock-made vaults dotting York County and the world. The old safes continue to attract interest from those who find or buy one. (Click on photograph to enlarge) Also of interest: Old York Safe & Lock, now Harley-Davidson, plant: U.S. Army ordnance made there, too. and The Laux, Loux, Loucks, Laucks, Louck, Lauck, Louks family to hold 300th reunion in York.

People write in from all over the the U.S. with queries about their York Safe & Lock safe. Can you help me find the combination? How can I open it?

In short, many of the queries come to: How do I crack a safe?

Here are a couple such requests of the durable products made by the long defunct 20th-century York safemaker:

“I happened upon your site and you have some things on York safes. I have one but I can not get it open and I even have the combination. Tried several times before I closed the door to make sure I could get it open and then shut the door. Now It will not open. Where may I get info? Would there be a second fail safe combination that would work? Help?”

And here’s another:

“I’m not sure if i am sending my inquiry to the correct person. But i have an opportunity to purchase the following safe. Inside safe is open but combination is unknown. Combination for outside door is available. Outside dimensions of the safe: approximately 27″ tall X 22″ wide and 26″. Weight of safe is unknown but estimated at 500 – 600 lbs.”

I put such queries before Lila Fourhman-Shaull, archivist at the York County Heritage Trust, lfourhman-shaull@yorkheritage.org.

Her response:

“We have about three boxes of catalogues, articles, shipping ledgers and other correspondence, but I don’t see any reference to combinations for their safes.”

And I put these queries before you. Do any readers have an avenue for finding out information on specific York safes? Comment below or email me. Meanwhile, here’s the first thing I would do if you have a question about a York Safe – how to open it, etc. Contact Fred Beihl. You’ll see how knowledgeable this collector/auctioneer is here.

Also of interest:

Another typical query: York Safe’s tumblers lock up.

Selected York Safe & Lock links:
New Freedom station houses alien safe
York Safe & Lock worker recalls chat with Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr’s visit to York long remembered
From Bofors to Bikes, Harley plant top hog
Forry Laucks, Lauxmont sparked debates
York-made safes spotted in post-war Tokyo
York Safe faltered after owner’s death.
All York Safe & Lock posts from the start.

*Photo courtesy York Daily Record/Sunday News.