How to open a 3 slot Payphone with out keys
Posted by Mark Treutelaar on February 01, 2016
You just bought the 3 slot pay phone on E-bay or found one locally, You always wanted one.
Now you found out that it is next to impossible to open up with out keys to the upper housing or lower vault door.
Old Phone Shop gets calls like this each week. No need to worry. We can supply you with a key for your upper housing lock.
If your payphone that has not been tampered with then this is what you need to do. First off . you need to determine the make of your old 3 slot payphone. It will be either Automatic Electric, Western Electric, Northern Electric or Gray
Automatic Electric Payphones usually have a 29S lock which take the 29s key.
Western Electric 3 slot Pay Phones use a 10H or 10G key.
Northern Electric pay phones use a 21B key.
You can go to www.oldphoneshop.com and easily order your key. We always carry them in stock.
GETTING INTO THE VAULT WITH OUT A KEY
The very first thing you need to know is that there is no replacement key for your vault door lock.
Nobody has them for sale because they do not exist. Do not try to drill out the vault door lock.
Im telling you this because many people get this idea and have done this. Its a big mistake. If you try this, you will regret it. You will ruin your vault door and not accomplish a thing
First turn your payphone over. On the backside of your backboard you will see some large screw heads and 2 or 3 small screw heads. You will remove these.
You will also see that there will be 2 large screws going through your back board from the inside. Those 2 screw need to be removed also. Here is what you do.
Center punch the center of the screw. Now using a small sharp drill bit drill start drilling on the center punch mark. Once you have drilled thru 3/8" of an inch stop. Now use a larger sharp drill bit. That it should catch in the screw and turn the screw out. Ive done this and have alwas been sucessfull. If it doesnt work then you can drill the screw completely out.
Some recommend to just use a very sharp drill bit after center punching the screw shaft. I am a believer of using a pilot hole and I always use 2 drill bits no matter what the project. But if you use sharp drill bits, the drill bit will eventually grab the metal in the screw shaft and turn the screw out. Only twice have I had to drill the entire screw out because it just wouldn't come out and Ive done this hundreds of times
Sometimes the screws are a little longer .If they stick thru the back board, then I usually cut a slot in the end of the screw and just turn them out with a screw driver. I have done this also many times with out damaging your back board. I have never damaged a back board. Hopefully you will not do damage either.
Once the lower housing is removed off of the back board the vault door lock can be easily removed. This is accomplished by removing the 4 four vault door lock screws with a screw driver. Once done the lock will fall out and door will come out.
Old Phone Shop has all your vault door locks for sale. We carry the 10L locks for Automatic Electric payphones.
We have # 30 locks and # 14 locks for Western Electric payphones. We have NE#22 locks for Northern Electric Payphones.
NOW FOR YOUR NEXT PROBLEM
What to do if there is a coin box inside the vault?
The coin box will need to be removed in order to remove the lock To accomplish this you have to take a metal drift and chisel to the inside coin box by using a hammer . You keep striking the bar or drift with the hammer against the coin box until the coin box is small enough to remove. The object is to crumple the coin box into a ball by hammering on it until you can pull it out.
If you dont wish to go through with this project, we can do all the work for you. You can send the entire payphone to Old Phone Shop. We get payphones in each week sometimes for complete restorations and sometimes they are sent to us to make into working phones.
We sell payphone parts and payphones. While there look at our other Antique telephones.