How Much Do You Know About Safes?

Posted by: webrevolve | Date: Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Iron SafeThe need to keep valuables safe is nothing new.

From medieval chests  with metal hinges to the iron boxes of the 1800s, right through to the technologically advanced devices we use today, safes have played an important role in protecting precious items and the people who own them.

Today there are a huge variety of safes with many different sizes and functions, all of which you are probably well aware of.

But here’s a little information you may not be so familiar with.

The Early Days

Did you know safes were an English invention?

It wasn’t until the late 1700s that security became the primary concern and initially safes took the form of a cell or closet formed within a building and on which an iron door was mounted.

For more than 2000 years, safes were primarily created mostly as an artistic endeavour, with intricate designs and that were protected with a simple and easy to break lock.

But it was in the mid-19th Century that we saw the true foundations of safe technology come to fruition in the UK.

Two brothers, Charles and Jeremiah Chubb, were successful in creating a burglar-resistant safe, and their company (still known today as Chubb) received a patent in 1835.

But there was one drawback. Although the Chubb safe was able to protect items from theft, none of the models provided protection against fire. And those that did failed to dispel the heat produced by fire, so while the safes didn’t set alight, their insides got as hot as a modern oven and the contents were destroyed.

The Evolution

In 1834, William Marr of Cheapside in London, saw a gap in the market and registered what is believed to have been the first ever fire-resisting patent.

This is something we now take fro granted, as today there are many different types of fireproof safes, all with different grades depending on the heat they can withstand.

Fire-proof safes are commonly manufactured with perlite or vermiculite, the same materials that are used in making fire-proof doors and fire-proof cabinets.

Perlite is what is called volcanic glass, which is an amorphous mineral that is formed by rapidly cooling magma from a volcano.  It is an effective heat resister and can keep the insides of a safe cooler than the outside in the event of a fire.

When heated to extreme levels, perlite expands and becomes lighter and less dense. Some houses have it in their insulations for the same reasons it resists heat in safes.

The testing that takes place for fire-proof and fire-resistant safes is thorough. The ratings are signified by hours and temperature. A rating for half an hour has been tested to sustain 1,550 degrees. A one-hour rating is tested at 1700 degrees, 1850 for two hours and 1920 for three hours.

Wall safes

Did you know that most burglars spend less than six minutes inside a victim’s home?

So hiding your safe could safe you valuable time.

Wall safes are typically lighter than floor safes because they are designed to be hidden and fixed to the wall. However, when you are installing a wall safe you have to be extra careful. Locating it in some cleverly concealed location or disguising the safe behind a false door, mirror or wall that requires too much time or too many steps to access is a clever thought.

Burglars know all the tricks of the trade, so hiding your safe behind a large painting won’t be a good idea!

Also, if a wall safe is not properly installed, burglars can quickly cut it out of the drywall and take it with them. Then they can take all the time they need to crack it open.

Time delay locks

Some safes, especially ones used in banks, have time delayed locks.

This means that locks have a waiting period after the correct combination is entered before they open. This is used in banks because of its value in bank robberies.

If a robber forces a teller to put in the combination, the lock stays locked for a set amount of time, giving the authority’s time to arrive usually they can be pre-set between 0-99 minutes.

Time delay locks can be fitted to higher security safes such as Euro grade Safes and in addition most Time Delay locks can also be utilised in another way – as a Time Lock.

A time lock can be pre-programmed to only allow the user’s code to access the safe within predetermined time slots – say between 9am-6pm Monday to Friday and withhold entry outside these hours and days.

Standard testing 

Although safes have existed in one form or another for thousands of years, the first standardised tests for the adequacy of safe protection was not actually introduced until 1917.

These tests caused radical changes in safe construction because they proved many of the old theories of protection to be false.

So because of this, safe equipment today, thanks to technological progress and thorough testing, can provide modern business with record protection like never before known before.

With brands like Dudley, Chubb, Burton, Securikey, and many others, Securesafe are the most renowned experts in supplying brand new and refurbished security safes and also in providing independent advise.