If you need to keep precious or valuable items in your home, or large amounts of cash, important documents and data on business premises, you’ll no doubt protect them in a locked safe. These days, safes are graded to help you buy the right level of security. We gave an explanation of this in our August blog post last year.

Safes are available to match any insurance requirements. With today’s advances in safe construction, heavier does not always mean better. But it wasn’t always that way.

An Intriguing Story

The history of British safe construction is bound up with the fascinating history of safe breaking. Developments really got under way in Victorian times. Tougher materials and more sophisticated locking mechanisms were necessary to thwart thieves who had started to use oxy-fuel cutters and power tools. Before that safes were just locked chests of iron or iron banded wood. The first advances were adding inner bodies and insulating them, making them more fire resistant.

While these were sold as thief-proof, after a series of successful and infamous burglaries in the City of London in the 1860s, one victim tried to claim a breach of warranty from the safe maker. This galvanised more developments designed to strengthen the joining of the door to the body of the safe.

Safe making became very competitive and public testing of the safes of competitors quite commonplace. However, there were not many new developments after that until it became cost effective to use steel and concrete towards the end of the nineteenth century. Until the 1920s, safe bodies were made up using riveting, but this changed when electric-arc welding was recognised as a superior method. Since then copper is known to be the most effective material to resist flame cutting, but it is softer than the ferrous materials so still has to be backed up with a plate that will resist drilling.

The Modern Safe

A typical safe you could buy today probably will not be anything like as heavy as its forbears, while being even more secure. It might be fitted with a door 76mm thick secured by at least a double bitted key lock. The body of the safe could have a 50mm cavity and incorporate grade approved barrier materials and a heat activated door seal. Safes come in all shapes and sizes, and can even be aesthetically designed to fit your décor.

We have been helping our customers to procure the best safes for their security needs for over 60 years. We’ll be happy to discuss what you need over the phone or in our London showroom, so do get in touch today.