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Collectibles - The Home Safe

April 10, 2007
ubos.co.uk
Home Safes – The Beginning

Welcome to the world of argyrothecolists, which is the name for a collector of money boxes.

buy and sell home safes and collectibles online at ubosMoney has been saved in lots of different containers and for a variety of reasons for thousands of years. The British Museum has an example made of pottery during the Roman Empire which contained silver coins from the reign of Emperor Constantine the Great (around AD 307-340).

The Victorian Era produced a variety of devices, boxes and safes for encouraging saving, including of course the locked money box. Many were designed to illustrate some important event of the day.

These early money boxes however were not used for advertising or marketing purposes but in the 1880's, in an effort to attract more customers, Banks in the USA began giving away money boxes that prominently displayed the banks name. These were called home safes, with a simple but effective lock, the key to which was kept by the bank.

The Home Safe

Home safes were different from simple money boxes because they contained a patented device, which prevented the money from being extracted by the usual method of inserting a knife or flat object in the slot in the hope that the money would slide out. The only way to extract money from a home safe was to force the lock.

When the home safe was taken to the bank to be opened, the money was credited to the customers account.  They became extremely popular in the United States and by 1910 some 10 million were in use.

In the UK, home safes arrived in the early 1900's.  Here, a home safe is generally accepted to mean a money box issued by a Bank or other institution between 1900-1970. The later plastic ones are called piggy banks for obvious reasons. In the USA all money boxes which are not mechanical are known as still banks.

The design of home safes changed over the years and can be categorised as follows ...

1. Black Metal - The main manufacturer of these safes in the UK was Taylor Law. Within this category there were different types as follows:

(i) Large Black boxes (some are decorated with copper lines),

(ii) Small Black boxes (some are decorated with copper lines)

2. Recording Safes - The Automatic Recording safe Co Ltd was granted a registered design for this type of safe in 1921. Both oval and round safes were made. These recording safes are either nickel plated or chrome.

3. The Portable Type - This does not have individual compartments for coins as the recording type it has one coin slot in the top, which prevents the box being completely filled and so in theory would be emptied more frequently at the bank.

4. The Prudential Type - This is similar to the portable type apart from the coin slot is at the front.

5. The Book Type - These were the most popular, as they were less expensive to manufacture, lighter and fitted in a pocket. They basically looked like a bound book.

(i) The Taylor Law Type - Larger than the book type. When unlocked the whole side is removed on early types. The later types had a hinged bottom flap. Lots of this type were made for the Post Office Savings Bank.

(ii) Those made by the Automatic Recording Safe Co. ltd - Smaller than the Taylor Law ones, they open like a book.

(iii) Those made by Pearson Page & Jewsbury Ltd - These are by far the most numerous as Pearson Page & Jewsbury could manufacture them at a very low price.

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Nick Harvey is a Director and co-founder of ubos.co.uk.  Ubos was one of our first conceptions.   At ubos we decided that it was about time there was an alternative to other well established auction sites.  Where users will not have to pay commission on sales they make. Ubos is the next generation of buying and selling online - A community of buyers and sellers.  Unlike other sites ubos is not an auction site. Ubuy, Usell, UBOS.