Antique Safes – Collectibles That Are Still On The Job
Antiques of any kind are generally considered to be objects that are at least 100 years old. However, this definition can be adjusted for different things; automobiles, for example, can be considered ‘antique’ when they are only 20 years old. Safes, in one form or another, have been in use for thousands of years, but the metal safes we are familiar with basically came into being in the 19th Century. One thing most safes throughout history have had in common is that they are usually heavy. Thieves are always looking for portable loot, and hauling off something that weighs hundreds of pounds simply is not practical.
Many antique safes, even those that are certifiable antiques, are still usable today, and can be a good place to store your handguns and other valuables. The very fact that these safes still exist is a testament to their ability to thwart burglars. Another line of safes that can be considered, especially if you are looking for a gun safe that will accommodate long guns, is used safes. If looking into used safes, make sure that the price difference between a new safe and a previously owned one is great enough to make the purchase worthwhile.
Nostalgic And Practical
There are still a number of different kinds of antique safes available today. Because recognizable safes have been around for almost 200 years, there is quite a variety to be found. If you are looking for an antique safe for your important papers, cash, jewelry, and pistols, keep in mind that safes made prior to 1840 will not be able to protect their contents from a house fire. After this time, manufacturers experimented with a number of materials to try to make their safes fireproof (with varying results). As it was believed for hundreds of years that the amphibian salamander was able to pass through fire unharmed (completely untrue), safes that were considered to be fireproof were often named ‘salamanders’.
• Office safes from the 19th and early 20th Centuries were made by a number of companies in the U.S. including Mosler and John D. Brush & Company (now Sentry Safe). Some of the safes made by Mosler, in particular, were very large and have interior dimensions that would permit storing a number of valuables in them. The only thing standing in the way of using a large Mosler as a gun safe is that at least some of the shelves are fixed. If these could be removed, it is probable that an antique Mosler safe could be used even for long gun storage.
• Silas Wilder made Wilder Salamander safes in the first half of the 1800s. Some of the safes made by this small company are fairly impressive in size, and could conceivably be used to hold firearms, depending on the existence or positioning of shelving. However, considering the level of technology available at the time, these safes should not be considered to be fireproof.
• Cabinet safes could be considered to be among the first hidden safes available. These safes, produced throughout in both Europe and the United States have a small safe inside an attractive wooden cabinet. These safes relied on either key or combination locks and the safe itself was behind false drawers or cabinet doors. The safes are usually quite limited in size, but as still suitable for storing handguns, jewelry, and other small valuables. As most of these safes still have their cloth lining, they will be gentle to whatever you place inside them.
• The Marvin Safe Company made cannonball safes in the mid-19th Century. As their name suggests, the body of the safe is a sphere which sits upon a pedestal. Most of the cannonball safes had too small an opening to allow for even a pistol to be placed inside. However, there were cannonball safes that were made with apertures large enough to allow you to place handguns inside.