The history of the safes (I)

Safes are thought to have originated in Europe when they were simply sturdy, thick wooden boxes held together with iron rings. A sample of this ancient wooden box is still preserved in the Cathedral of Chichester, England. It is 9 feet long, 2 feet high, 2 feet deep, made of 2-inch thick boards, and about 1,000 years old. This is probably the oldest surviving safe. In medieval European paintings, you can also occasionally see a kind of gold and silver jewelry, metal-clad wooden cupboard, this is the prototype of the safe.

It was not until the early 19th century, about 200 years ago, when the wealth of society grew and there was a real market demand for safes, that European manufacturers specializing in locks began to turn to the safe industry. 1818 saw the establishment of the Chubb lock and safe manufacturing factory in London. 1825 saw the establishment of the French company FICHE-BAUCHI, and all of these manufacturers then began to manufacture safes. late in the 18th century, the Carron Co. in Scotland and Coalbrookdale in England began manufacturing cast iron chests and bookcases. This was the beginning of metal safes, but basically using wood mortise and tenon techniques or integral casting, both in appearance and craftsmanship, similar to the furniture of the time, with a very low level of precision in the locks.

The main users of the early commercially produced safes were banks, insurance companies, government archives, and commercial institutions. The safes were made of cast iron, using riveting and mortise and tenon jointing techniques, with cast iron ribs added to the box and door (doors or made separately) to increase strength, the appearance of the safe, and the locking mechanism appeared to be strong, but the lock and mechanism were relatively simple, so the safes at that time were just some seemingly strong iron boxes, and the door thickness was generally 1/2 inch (12 mm).

Initially, safes were not fireproof, and fire damage made people realize the importance of fireproofing function. In the early 19th century, fireproof safes appeared, made of wood soaked in alkali salt solution; around 1827, Thomas Milner in England (Milner used to be the largest insurance manufacturer in England) began to manufacture an inner and outer layer made of tin and iron plates, filled between the inner and outer layers by a non-heat-conductive mixture of hardwood, sawdust, and alum, which is considered to be the earliest fireproof safe, but only with fireproof function, does not have the burglar effect. It can be said that the development of burglarproof safes and fireproof safes is almost at the same time.