History Of Safes Part Four: Dial Plates To Current Safe Mechanisms

Like many products, safes have mainly progressed as flaws have been identified and thieves have got smarter, compromising locks along the way and finding innovative new ways to break into sealed boxes that don’t live up to their name as ‘safes’.

In the last instalment we discovered that listening to safes to open them really did work, however, after learning this trick, manufacturers were quick to fix this issue. For this, they added more clicks to the dial disks, so that you could no longer listen to the clicks to crack the code. By the sixties, thieves resorted the force rather than the mastery of codebreaking. Safecrackers in the 1960s began used diamond drills to break through the safe.

Diamond drills were successful because of diamond is one of the hardest minerals; meaning it can pierce through safes made of a material that is considered robust, even concrete safes. Once again, as manufacturers learnt of the latest trick by criminals, safes were then made with an element that meant safes were better equipped to resist the power of diamond drills. The element added, corundum, is not as hard as diamond, but within a concrete safe can help to protect safes from drill damage. Nowadays, safes are made from tough, defensive material that is incredibly difficult to break through. Having said that, they’re not all unbreakable.

Thieves can use specialist hydraulic equipment to break a safe, but often these methods will take the time to implement. Using specialist hydraulic equipment can work, but in a pressure situation where thieves have to move quickly, they don’t have the time to break a safe. Instead, criminals are much more likely to take a safe away and work on them with time and precision. With this in mind, when you purchase a safe, you not only need to consider the material of the safe but how the safe will be installed. As technology and materials progress, safes are made to suit a range of needs. Certainly, there is no one-size-fits-all safe, and we all need to find the one that meets our needs depending on our possessions and what we want or need to protect. In the past, thieves have found ways to outfox safes eventually, and this will inevitably continue. However, rest assured that it often takes a long time for thieves to get wise and come up with a way to crack safes. As time moves on, manufacturers will keep finding innovative ways to deter thieves and make sure that you feel that your belongings are safely protected in every circumstance, whether it's from thieves, fires or floods.