With the development of social productivity and the growth of material wealth, people have started to seek effective ways to protect their property. As a result, there emerged a practical market demand for safes with anti-theft features. In the early 19th century, some astute lock manufacturers in Europe turned their attention to the safe industry.
In 1818, Chubb Lock and Safe Manufacturing Factory was established in London. In 1825, FICHE-BAUCHE was founded in France. These manufacturers subsequently began researching and producing safes.
The first image shows a copper safe salvaged from the wreckage of the Titanic, which is over 200 years old. It appears to be nothing more than a copper box with latches and locks.
The second image depicts an iron safe from 200 years ago. Its appearance resembles a regular double-door iron cabinet, with door hinges similar to wooden joinery, showcasing excellent craftsmanship.
In the late 18th century, Carron Co. in Scotland and Coalbrookdale in England were among the pioneers in manufacturing cast iron boxes and bookcases, marking the beginning of metal safes. However, these "safes" mostly relied on traditional woodworking techniques or solid castings. Both their appearance and craftsmanship resembled furniture at the time, with low levels of lock precision and theft protection.
From the late 18th century to the late 19th century, driven by profit pursuit, numerous British safe manufacturers emerged like mushrooms after rain. Several renowned safe manufacturers appeared, including Chubb Lock and Safe Manufacturing Factory. Since Chubb only produced locks at the time, Tann was contracted to manufacture the boxes and doors for their safes. In 1833, Chubb registered a patent for anti-theft safes. In 1836, Chubb established its own safe manufacturing factory in Smithfield Cowcross, London. The rapid development of Chubb Lock and Safe Manufacturing Factory made it a dominant force in the industry, reigning over the safe industry for nearly a century. During this period, the majority of world-renowned companies in the financial sector used Chubb's products. Even in the old bank buildings of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and other early coastal cities in China, you can still find Chubb safes with a history of nearly a hundred years.
Originally published 19 Sep 2023, updated 19 Sep 2023.