A Trusted Brand is Reborn


The history of the safe isn’t as complicated as you may think.

As far back as in Roman times, there is evidence that poor people secured their valuable possessions in the sand or thick pottery, whilst affluent Romans kept them in lockable boxes and wore the keys as rings.  In the Middle Ages, this developed into using heavy wooden chests with metal locks when blacksmithing was commonplace.  An example is The Oak Chest used to protect the Crown Jewels in Scotland in 1707.

Wrought iron chests were first seen in Germany and Eastern Europe in the 18th century where the metal was originally hammered out rather than rolled. These often had intricate locking mechanisms such as this example found in South America.

Although wrought iron chests were not seen in England until the 1900s, cast iron chests were being made earlier.

In 1830, Thomas Milner, a tinner from Sheffield, set-up in Liverpool and made tin-plate and sheet-iron boxes and subsequently strong plate-iron safes and chests. Whilst in the Midlands, two inventors Charles and Jeremiah Chubb patented a burglar-resisting safe and began production.

Meanwhile, Mather & Platt, founded in 1845 and based in Salford, were developing new engineering and manufacturing techniques for factories and mills. The business grew and by the turn of the century they expanded with laboratories and an iron foundry at Newton Heath before closing and selling off the Salford site.

In 1889, Sir John Wormald of Mather & Platt, enlisted the help of his brothers and broke away to set up his own company specialising in fire protection. This became so prosperous that in 1976 they acquired their old parent company, Mather & Platt, which had created them nearly 100 years before.

Just before this, in 1972, they bought a newly formed safe manufacturer, Security Lock Safe Company Ltd, or SLS as they were known. Together with the group’s 200 years’ experience and SLS specific knowledge of the safe industry, SLS became a brand leader within a few short years.

Just under a decade later, SMP Security Ltd. were looking to expand into manufacture and so took the opportunity to buy SLS. Manufacture continued, but into the 1990s, this was reduced and was mainly focussed on the Far East.

This year, Associated Security bought SMP Security and plan to re-launch the SLS brand with a new website. As one of only two safe manufacturers left in the UK, we are proud to be carrying on the traditions set all those years ago.

We are developing a new lightweight safe with the same high quality and traditional production techniques so installation to upper and lower floors will be possible. These will be ready and on display at our September Security Awareness Day at SMP in Telford.