Associated Security News

History Of Safes And Their Evolution

21st November 2023

Safes have been an integral part of human history, evolving alongside our need to protect valuable belongings. From ancient civilizations to the modern era, the development of safes has been a fascinating journey, reflecting advancements in craftsmanship, technology, and security. Let’s take a quick stroll through time to explore the fascinating history of safes.

Ancient Roots:

Our journey begins in ancient Egypt, where the first recorded instances of secure storage date back to the 13th century BC. Initially, these early safes were basic wooden boxes adorned with intricate locking mechanisms to deter theft. These mechanisms were similar to the ones that are currently used for pin tumbler locks. Transitioning to ancient Rome, we find evidence of more sophisticated safes employing metal and more advanced locking mechanisms.

Mediaeval Advancements:

As mediaeval Europe emerged, so did the need for enhanced security. Iron chests became prevalent during this period, featuring intricate lock designs that were both functional and ornamental. These safes were often commissioned by nobility and religious institutions to safeguard important documents, relics, and treasures.

The Birth of Modern and Fire Resistant Safes:

The 19th century, in the form of the Industrial Revolution, witnessed a revolution in safe technology. As the dangers of fire became more apparent, safes began to be designed with fire resistance in mind. Fire-resistant safes from the late 20s were lined with asbestos, while others used layers of metal, bricks, or other materials to insulate the contents from heat. Current modern fireproof safes have adopted the use of non-toxic and more heat-resistant materials.

The Combination Lock Era:

The late 19th and early 20th centuries marked the introduction of combination locks, a significant leap forward in safe technology. This innovation eliminated the need for keys, reducing the risk of theft and providing users with a more convenient and secure means of access.

Technological Integration:

As technology advanced, so did safes. The latter half of the 20th century witnessed the integration of electronic locks and digital security systems. Biometric safes, using fingerprints or retinal scans for access, became commonplace, offering unparalleled security and convenience.

Modern Marvels:

In the 21st century, safes have become high-tech marvels with features such as remote monitoring, smartphone integration, and cloud-based security systems. These advancements cater to the evolving needs of individuals and businesses, such as smart deposit safes, ensuring that valuables remain safeguarded in an increasingly interconnected world.

British-Made Safes: A Legacy of Security

In our exploration of the history of safes and their evolution, it’s important to highlight the significant role that British-made safes have played in this narrative. The United Kingdom has a rich history of safe production and innovation in the security industry. We have a dedicated blog on the importance of British Made Safes and what you can expect from one.

The Future of Safes:

Because of advancements in technology, it’s likely that safes will continue to evolve and incorporate new security features. Some companies are already experimenting with virtual safes that use blockchain technology to securely store digital assets, while others are developing safes that use artificial intelligence to detect and prevent tampering.


The evolution of safes from simple wooden boxes to sophisticated, tech-driven vaults is a testament to human ingenuity and the constant pursuit of security. As we continue into the future, one can only speculate on what innovations await in the world of secure storage.


🔒 Associated Security Solutions

Explore our dedicated blog on why choosing Associated Security Solutions for your Safes and Security needs is the right decision. In short – With over 75 years of experience, Associated Security Solutions stands as the UK’s premier provider of safes and security products. The magic unfolds at our Telford facility, where we meticulously design and manufacture exceptional security solutions. Our extensive range caters to all your security needs, from Safes and secure Storage to Access Control Solutions and Strong Rooms. Moreover, our expert workforce extends nationwide, providing security solutions and services for businesses and homes, ensuring your peace of mind.

For enquiry, drop us a message below, and our in-house safe experts will be happy to assist you.

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Image of an old safe for history of safes