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Nov 17, 2020

History of Safes

Safes and lockboxes are used to protect all sorts of valuables and belongings from important documents and photos to jewelry and guns. They are secure devices that protect your belongings from damage, theft, and intrusion. Safes were not always so reliable, however. These thousands-year-old mechanisms have come a long way. This article brought to you by Top Atlanta Locksmith will give you a quick summary of the history of safes for your reading pleasure. If you need professional assistance with your safe, then call Top Atlanta Locksmith to schedule an appointment with a certified locksmith. We can also arrange an urgent dispatch for emergency cases.

The First Safe

The first safe that we know about is traced back to the 13th century B.C. – over 3000 years ago. It was found in the tomb of Pharaoh Ramesses II in present day Egypt. This safe was wooden with a lock system similar to the pin tumbler locks of the current world. It had moveable pins that dropped into holes to lock the safe. Though wood is not exactly secure and is susceptible to forceful entry, the design and idea are impressive for over 3000 years ago!

The Roman Age

Developments in molding metals made way for more secure and reliable locks and safe, granted they were still easy to pick or force open. Security was enhanced with the introduction of lock systems with fixed lugs, multiple locks, fake lock holes, hidden locks, and other techniques.

Protection from Fires

Before the early 1800s, safes were built to protect against burglars and thieves but were not safe from fires. In 1825, Jesse Delano started manufacturing iron chests and coated wooden chests with combinations of clay, lime, plumbago, mica, potash lye, and alum. Around 1827, Thomas Milner began to make safes that were coated with tin and iron, as well as an inner lining of the same. 

In the 1830s, C.J. Gayler patented the “double” fire-proof chest. This safe consisted of two chests, one inside of the other with space between them to enclose air or some non-conductor of heat. His model was tested during the great fire in New York in 1835 when other safes suffered but the “salamander” double fire-proof chest kept the contents secure.

Competition heated up and continued throughout the mid-1800s with multiple patents and lawsuits. Many insulating materials were used in addition to compartmentalization. The Wilder Salamander Safe Co. became a leader in the industry during this time.

Modern Vaults and Safes

Modern vaults feature walls that are incredibly thick, made of steel, encased with strengthened concrete, and have extremely complicated locking mechanisms. Modern safes have been designed to even withstand a nuclear blast. The Mosler Safe in Hiroshima and an above-ground safe used during a nuclear test in Nevada are two examples.

Call the Professionals

If you need help setting up or accessing your safe, then call Top Atlanta Locksmith. Our certified locksmiths have experience and tools to help with a large range of safe types and styles. We are ready to take your call.




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