History of Chubb Safes

Chubbsafes 2000 +

1818: The Beginning

Brothers Charles and Jeremiah Chubb started out their working careers as ironmongers in Portsmouth.

In 1818 J Chubb invented and patented the famous Chubb `Detector Lock` as a result of a Government competition to create an un-pickable lock. 
It was constructed so that if attempts were made to pick it open, the detector mechanism came into operation and rendered the lock inoperable. 
The lock remained unpicked until the Great Exhibition of 1851.

1820: Wolverhampton

The Chubb business moved from Portsmouth to Wolverhampton, the lock making capital of England. Here they opened the first of many factories.

1823: Royal Recognition

Chubb was awarded a special licence by George IV and went on to become the sole supplier of locks to the Post Office and to HM Prison Service.

1835: The First Chubb Safe

In the early years of the company the Chubb brothers concentrated on designing and manufacturing locks. 
However, they also worked on the development of further security products, and in 1835 they produced and patented their first burglar resistant Chubb safe.
Chubb was becoming recognised for its engineering quality and the craftsmanship with which the products were made was unsurpassed.

1837: London

The first safe works were opened in Cowcross Street, London. From this point the manufacture of safes assumed equal importance with that of locks.

1838: Fire-Proof Safes

Charles Chubb took out a patent for one of the first iron safes of the time designed to protect against fire. 
His invention based on the idea of creating iron plate linings with spaces in between which would be filled with fire retardant materials.

1841: Royal Clientele

Charles Chubb was appointed principle lock maker to the Prince Consort.

The Chubb Safes Group was growing in strength and gaining a reputation for designing and constructing the best physical security available. 
Their customers included the Duke of Wellington and major financial institutions such as the Bank of England.

1846: Business Succession

Charles Chubb passed away at the age of 75. The Chubb business was carried on by his son and partner, John Chubb.

1851: The Great Exhibition

Chubb designed a special security display cage to house the Koh-i-Noor diamond for its appearance at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

The first ever Post Office letter box was installed and fitted with a Chubb lock.

1868: Factory Relocation

Cowcross Street, Chubbs London factory since 1837 which was used exclusively for manufacturing fire and burglary resistant safes and strong-room doors closed. 
Production was moved to a new larger factory on Glengall Road off Old Kent Road.

1872: Business Succession

John passed away to be succeeded by his sons John Charles, George Hayter and Harry Withers Chubb as sole partners.

1882: Private Limited Company

The business was converted into a private limited company with the Chubb family being the majority on the board.

1889: A New Factory in Wolverhampton

In 1882 the lease on the Wolverhampton factory had expired and the lock works were moved to London. 
They returned to Wolverhampton in 1889 upon the completion of a new factory which was capable of accommodating 350 locksmiths, and also a new safe making department.

1890s: Global Expansion

Chubb had begun expanding and promoting its products abroad as early as the 1870s when a subsidiary was set up in the United States. 
Subsidiaries were also established in South Africa in 1894 and Australia in 1896.

1908: Factory Consolidation

Since 1837 Chubb had factories in London and Wolverhampton. In 1908 the London factory was closed and transferred to Wolverhampton for all production. 
The relocation was carried out like a military operation to ensure the minimum loss of working time. 
The men left London on Thursday and were given the rest of the week to find accommodation in Wolverhampton for themselves and their families. 
On the Monday they were expected to commence production as normal!

1914: World War I

During the First World War Chubb turned nearly all of its works over to war production, high explosives and shrapnel shells were produced in huge quantities. 
Safes continued to be manufactured providing a constant supply to the Admiralty and the Army.

1938: 120th Anniversary

Chubb celebrated its 120th anniversary. Sir George Hayter Chubb opened a new extension to the Wolverhampton works to mark the occasion and coincide with his 90th birthday. The additional buildings consisted of new offices and lock works bringing the total factory area to over six and a half acres.

1939: World War II

The Second World War resulted in another bout of war time production. After the war Chubb went on to expand its operations in another 17 countries including Canada in 1954.

1950s: Technical Breakthroughs

New designs for locks and safes were continually being developed due, in part, to the resourcefulness and new techniques employed by thieves. 
The rapid increase in oxygen cutting had created a demand for safes with a high degree of protection but also reasonably priced. 
Chubb had already developed such protection but due to the costs involved its use had been restricted to the major banking institutions.

A technical breakthrough came when Chubb released its Standard Anti Blowpipe safe which was a landmark in safe design and global security.

1960's: Organic Growth

During the late 50's and 60's Chubb made a number of acquisitions and mergers. 
In 1956 Chubb took over the well renowned Hobbs Hart and Co Ltd, as well as Lips in Holland and Chatwood Milner Safes of Liverpool. 
J Parkes & Sons became part of the Chubb Group in 1965.

1962: Construction Developments

Chubb introduced a new alloy known as TDR, Torch and Drill resistant. Safes became affordable for all businesses and the middle class home owner.

1967: Cash Dispenser Unit

The first Chubb cash dispenser was installed at Westminster Bank Ltd in Victoria Street.

1984: Mergers, Demergers and Acquisitions

Chubb becomes part of the Racal Electronics Group only to demerge from the group in 1992 to form Chubb Security plc. 
In 1997 Williams Holdings Ltd acquires Chubb for a reported £1.3bn.

2000: Gunnebo

Assa Abloy, a Swedish based lock manufacturer buys Chubbsafes from Williams Holdings Ltd. 
The company is divided with Assa Abloy retaining the Locks division and selling the safe manufacturing division to global giant Gunnebo, another Swedish based company.

Gunnebo takes Chubbsafes forward into the new millennium, maintaining the quality and craftsmanship of the Chubbsafes range and committing to continuous development.

2003: Introduction of the Secureline Range

As part of the Chubbsafes banner Secureline security products were developed and introduced into the UK. 
Designed for domestic or office use, the Secureline ranges meet strict standards set by the European Union and include safes for burglary and fire protection.
2010 - Please note Secureline range is no longer promoted in the UK and products now fall under the Chubbsafes brand.

2006: Chubbsafes Online

Safe Security Services Ltd sets up www.chubb-safe.co.uk, supplying nationwide the complete range of Chubbsafes as well as an efficient service department.

Since 2006 we have supplied thousands of home owners and offices, as well as Charities and Government bodies (NHS, National Trust, Barnados).
Retailers (Nestle, BP, Claridges), Financial Institutions (Barclays) and Commercial Corporations (AEG Europe - O2 Arena).

2009: Chubbsafes Elite Distributor

As a valued distributor of Chubbsafes  and Secureline, we are (chubb-safe.co.uk / Safe Security Services Ltd) awarded the title of Elite Distributor by Gunnebo.

20014: ChubbSafes Gold Partner - Channel Partnership Scheme

In recognition of the high level of service and support Safe Security Services Ltd have provided for all chubbsafes customers over the last 10 years.
We were selected (restricted to only a couple of resellers nationwide) to become an official recognised Chubbsafes channel partner (Gold level standard).


We offer our sincerest thanks to the following sites:

Chubb http://chubb.co.uk

Wolverhampton http://www.localhistory.scit.wlv.ac.uk

History & Heritage

History of Locks http://historyoflocks.com

The Safeman http://safeman.org.uk

Chubb Security http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chubb_Security

Chubb Locks http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chubb_Locks

Detector Lock http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chubb_detector_lock