The History of the Safe
If you want to add an additional layer of security to your property, you may consider buying a home safe. If you do this, it will help protect your most valued possessions from theft, loss and even, with the right safe – fire damage. purchasing a safe might not feel like a crucial purchase on a regular day when considering home appliances to buy, however, in the unfortunate circumstances that your possessions are put in danger, you will not regret it. As a matter of fact, if owning a safe prevented you from losing your most cared for items, you’d certainly thank your lucky stars that you’d gone out of your way to invest in one.
Safes are a staple in terms of safety and security, as well as this they’ve played a crucial role in the formation of banks, business, and commerce and were just another part of the safety equation for homeowners over the decades as well. Moreover, safes have a rich heritage that precedes having them in the home as we do today. So with this in mind, let’s take a look at the rich cultural history of the safe.
Ancient Greece and Rome
In ancient times, temples were often utilised to store both collective civic treasures and the assets of affluent people. Special money boxes with slits allowing the insertion of coins dates back at least to the 2nd century BCE, the accepted dating of one found by archaeologists in the ancient Greek city of Priene, which is now classified as a part of Western Turkey.
In ancient Rome, banking activities evolved from temples to privately managed buildings, and at length became regulated by the authorities of the Roman Empire.
During the Roman times, combination style locks with rotating dials were created for security on boxes, as an alternative to keyholes. The earliest known example goes back to the ancient period and was found in a tomb within the capital of Greece, Athens.
Early Medieval China
In keeping with the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907), where China was one of the most prosperous countries in the world, wealth was frequently stored in the form of valuable physical commodities held under armed guard in private storage facilities. The most common commodity utilised to store wealth during this period was silk. Occasionally, precious metals or minerals as simple as salt would be held as well.
During the middle ages and throughout the Renaissance prior to 1700, lockable wooden boxes or chests remained the standard secure storage system which was used. A basic construction of large, heavy hardwood was commonplace and pretty and decorative carvings were sometimes found on the outsides of surviving examples from the 13th century and continued to be the trend. The wooden chests were occasionally reinforced for strength with iron bars or bands.
The frequent addition of added locking bolts for added security as well as the substantial weight as well as the challenging nature of opening and closing medieval safes. Hinged lids were frequently used, but because of the very heavy construction making the lids on larger safes difficult to lift, hinged side-doors were often used instead.
The locks and keys used varied in their complexity according to the security requirements. Hoop-shaped iron fastenings were commonly used for strength, and multiple locking iron bolts were sometimes added for extra security.
Combination locks were also in use in the Islamic Middle East. Other examples of similar origin have been preserved in museums around the world in places such as Copenhagen, Denmark and Boston, to this day. Combination locks were used in Renaissance Europe, and referenced by the 16th century Italian mathematician Gerolamo Cardano, who is said to have invented his own working model.
Georgian and Victorian England
In the 18th century, wrought-iron chests were often used for the secure storage of objects, by the end of this century, chests made of cast iron had been introduced and were the nearest thing available to a modern safe, but they did not offer significant fire resistance.
Banks do not yet have vaults as we know them, however they did make use of secure rooms. During the 19th century, burglars were frequently equipped with crowbars to force open locks, and then in some cases even used gunpowder to blow up the locks on safes, so the need for enhanced security measures developed in response to their tools and techniques.
By the mid-19th century safes were often fashioned from dual metal layers, each often composed of a mixture of tinplate and sheet iron. An inner layer of mixed hardwood, sawdust and alum offered some fire protection to the contents in the event of a fire, as molten alum inhibits heat conduction. Another contemporary inventor, Thomas Milner, made an even better insulation by using alum and other alkaline salts to create an insulating layer of steam when the safe was heated up.
The beautifully painted steel cabinets also needed to have unpickable locks. A large amount of British and American inventions of tumbler, combination, code and time locks from around this time helped protect the contents. The first World Fair (referred to as the Great Exhibition) took place in London in 1851, and a huge Crystal Palace was built in Hyde Park to host it. As well as all the key achievements of the world’s industries to date, the exhibition demonstrated a few models of safes from various manufacturers from around Europe.
Home Security Solutions from the Experts at Campbell & McGovern
Security solutions have changed immensely over the years and here at Campbell & McGovern, we are proud to say we are moving with the times and continue to provide up to date and quality products. For specialist locksmith services and knowledgeable security advice on the best protection for your property, contact the team based in Bootle. We supply and install a range of effective security products from leading manufacturers. You can have your car, house and business keys and locks cut, repaired or replaced at our trade counter while you wait. If you are not sure of what would best suit your needs, you can just simply ask our friendly team for professional security advice.
We’re proud to offer a range of home security systems and products, including CCTV systems, wooden and aluminium door locks and emergency lock repairs. If you’re in need of a home safe then we have a full range, including underfloor safes, secure wall mounted safes and fireproof safes for added peace of mind. We’re on hand to give advice about which type of safe would best suit your requirements and we can install the safe on your behalf too. If you have suffered from a break in, don’t panic – our emergency locksmiths are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and we aim to be at your home within the hour to solve the problem. To find out more about how our security and locksmith services can help keep your valuables safe, get in touch today or visit our website.