French Iron Floor Safe

  • This incredible 19th-century safe would have been the most secure place for valuables
  • Such a complex safe would have been the most secure way to store one's valuables
  • The locking mechanism requires three unique keys used in precise order to open
  • Very few floor safes of this age and complexity are found in this impeccable condition
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-1927

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A marvel of mechanical complexity and exceptional craftsmanship, this fully functioning French hobnail safe was one of the most secure means by which valuables could be stored in the 19th century. Weighing nearly 700 pounds, the iron structure is covered with thick iron plates, polished iron straps and "hobnail" rivets as well as decorative iron mounts that are both striking and beautiful. The locking mechanism is marvelously complex, utilizing hidden keyholes and a total of three keys that must be manipulated precisely to open the safe successfully. Once open, one can view the exposed mechanism on the door's interior. A series of iron flowers and neoclassical decorative medallions adorn the exterior; two depicting lions' heads rest atop Ionic columns and a large, central medallion cast with the image of a cherubic child drinking from a pitcher.

The keyholes are ingeniously hidden behind unassuming latch doors that are accessed by pushing an inconspicuous button. After that, one must know the precise way in which to manipulate the unique keys to successfully gain access to the safe's precious contents. Due to its complexity, it would have required upwards of three individuals to be present at one time (one for each key) in order to open the safe and access its contents, making it one of the most secure safes of its age.

Manufactured by Magaud de Charf in Marseilles, France, it is one of the very few floor safes of this size and complexity still in existence. Both its large dimensions and its decorative detail are clear indications that this safe was made by a highly skilled metalsmith and commissioned by an individual of import. 

Stamped "Charf/Breveté/Marseille"

Circa 1830

33 1/2" wide x 23 3/4" deep x 48 1/2" high
French Iron Floor Safe
Period: 19th Century
Origin: France
Type: Safes/Strong Boxes
Depth: 23.75 Inches
Width: 33.5 Inches
Height: 48.5 Inches

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