Posted In: Safes

Safes Over the Centuries

Updated: February 23, 2021

Today’s safes are made to protect nearly anything – documents, valuables, weapons, money, and more. They’ve come a long way from the “iron chests” of the pre-1800s, evolving into the impressive safes of today.

Early Safes/h3>

The earliest lockboxes were made of wood in the 1700s, and while their bolts and locking mechanisms were fairly secure for their day, thieves had little difficulty prying them open.
Safe construction improved when cast iron was used in the late 18th century, and the lock itself became the weakest component of this new strongbox.

Fire-Proofing and Lock Innovation

In the early 1800s, there were several different patents on ways to make safes impervious to flame, resulting in competition amongst inventors -and the creation of the first fire safes.
In 1818, a “detector lock” was invented with the intention that it would not open if someone attempted to pick it. Egyptian pin-tumbler designs were adopted by a father and son and became the common design seen today.

20th-Century Steel and Today

A single piece of steel was used to make safes in the 1900s, and safecrackers and robbers used explosives to open them. Anti-explosive technology improved, and a safe from the 40s survived the Hiroshima atomic blast from a distance of less than 1,000 feet.
Today’s safes feature complex locks, drill- and torch-proof construction, and often have layers of concrete sandwiched between steel.
Fire safes incorporate materials that help the contents resist extremely high temperatures for up to an hour in residential applications, and gun safes keep firearms protected from both tampering and theft.

King Safe & Lock is a premier Houston locksmith specializing in fine safes that are designed to guard your valuables. Our fire and gun safes come in many varieties to best suit your protective requirements. Contact us for all of your safe needs!