How to Recover the Padlock Combinations

(Formerly: How to Recover the Combination for a Master Combination Lock)

This site is dedicated to putting the millions of combination padlocks, for which the combinations have been forgotten or misplaced, back into service. The site is also dedicated to the millions of people who enjoy puzzles and those who consider finding the combination to be a challenging puzzle.

This site covers the well known shortcut that applies specifically to many Master padlocks, as well as techniques that apply to other manufacturers' locks, such as ACE Hardware, American, Fortress and Dudley brands and some Master locks that don't yield to the shortcut. The pages also show how a combination lock works and why these techniques work, and include pictures of the inside of a combination lock.

The site has been updated to include the
"sphero" and "Titanium Series" locks, and the models 2002 and 2010 "high security" combination padlocks. The locks that we purchased opened using slightly modified variations on the shortcut method. (We explain the differences.) In fact, we didn't find them any more difficult to open than the Master locks pictured above.

Master Lock has introduced the Model 1500iD Speed Dial and Model 1590D Resettable Combination Locks. For both locks, it is extremely important to carefully enter the new combination and to keep a good record. At present, we do not have recovery methods for either lock, but we plan to add instructions as we find them.

Many other pages on the internet, as well as many videos, provide instructions on how to find the combination for a Master combination lock. We try to do a better job. We provide a more detailed method for finding the last number of the combination. This information is helpful when the simple method, given on other web pages, does not work. Once the last number is found, we provide a faster method of dialing the combinations that have that last number. Furthermore, we reduce the amount of dialing to do, by cutting the maximum number of combinations to try. Other pages have you dial as many as 100 combinations, but there are really no more than 64 to try.

These pages work best with Microsoft Internet Explorer. If you browse with Firefox or Safari, you may find text on top of text.

Click here to proceed to the next page.

Quick links for return visitors to the site:

1. Our "success" page, with links to other pages.

. How a combination lock works, with pictures of disassembled locks.

3. Finding combinations for Master locks with serial numbers that begin with 800, and locks from other manufacturers.

4. Methods for Opening the Master 4 digit thumbwheel lock (Model 175 and its family) and Sesamee 4 digit thumbwheel lock.

5. Opening the Master Key Storage Lock (added January, 2004)

"Knowledge is the Golden Key." (Knowledge also works well on combination locks!)

Available at Barnes & Noble and other booksellers: "The Lock Artist" by Steve Hamilton!

The author gathered information from this site and others to write his most current novel. We are honored to have been permitted to read and review the draft copy. For more information, please visit the author's site:

Please be aware that "The Lock Artist" is a fictional novel and, even though the central character's lock manipulation techniques are described in detail, the book is not an instruction manual for lock manipulation.  In the author's own words: "we got it right enough to be convincing, but wrong enough to make sure this book isn't a training manual."

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