The History of the Iron Chests

One of the most common objects that was used heavily in the past times and still has some relevance in the modern world is iron chests or safes. It is considered to be the most common object that has been found in the office photographs of late 19th century to early 20th century. Not until the 1820s the safe manufacturers could understand the importance of fire resistant safe. Until then the residential safes were made just to protect the valuables from the thieves.

The safe manufacturers started their attempt for a fire resistant residential safes from the beginning of the 1820’s but time and again they failed miserably. Not until the early 1840’s the presence of an effective safe which could defend a major building fire was not detected. After that the fire resistant safes become quite common in the offices as well as in the personal households. At that time the safes were considered to be the most precious office material.

The first type of residential safes that were manufactured was made of woods. Iron hoops were used to bind the wooden safe together. Wrought iron became a rage between the safe manufacturers from the beginning of the nineteenth century. A manufacturer named Thomas Miller tried to make a safe that can prevent fire. He made the inner and outer chamber with strong tin. He filled the vacuum that lies in between with alum and saw dust. Thus, if there is any incident of fire, the alum will melt releasing the saw dust which was a known bad conductor of heat. This safe can be considered as the first ever fire resistant safe but in was not burglar resistant

By 1825 a person named Jesse Delano started to make iron chests. He even applied for a patent for the fire resisting technique that he was using at that time. The application was successful and he manufactured safes until1859. After the safes designed by Mr. Delano, many safe manufacturers tried their hands in making fire proof safes.

One such famous residential safes manufacturer is C.J. Gaylor. He invented the concept of double safe, in which one safe can be found inside the other, and the air that lies in between the gap or any non-conductor substance that the manufacturer put in there can act as the fire inhibitor. But the great fire of 1835 that took place in New york proved the fact all those fire resistant safes are practically useless.

The manufacturers tried every alternative material in search for a proper fire proof safe. But only the hydrated Plaster Of Paris worked as the best insulator in the fire proof safe production business. The minute the hydrated Paris received intense heat generated by fire, it released the water from its component forming a layer of steam in the safe. That steam protected the books, money and other valuable items of the safe from getting destroyed. But it created the problem of molds and dampness in the safe which lead the residential safes to rusting.

The search for the perfect safe was on by the safe manufacturers, but the perfect fire resisting material was hard to find. Messrs. Herring & Co. solved the problem by making the inner side with stainless steel and filling the gap with Franklinite.