Monday, 6 September 2010

Tin of the Week: No.6 - Chubb & Sons Lock & Safe Co. Ltd

This week's tin is a money-box dating from circa 1924 commemorating Queen Mary's dollhouse. The tin was jointly issued by Cauldon Potteries (Potters to HM Queen) and Chubb & Sons Lock & Safe Co. Ltd.

Dad brough this tin last year at a boot sale for 50p, a bargain he was particularly proud of as he beat a local dealer to it!
 The founders of Chubb & Sons Lock & Safe Co. Ltd were brothers Charles and Jeremiah Chubb.With his apprentice blacksmith experience behind him, Charles and his brother opened a business as a ships' ironmonger in Winchester circa 1804. In 1818 Jeremiah patented a thief-proof  'detecting lock' upon which their fame as locksmiths was founded. This lock was made in such a way that any attempt to pick it or open it with a wrong key caused an interference detector mechanism to kick into action, subsequently rendering the lock inoperable; to make the lock work again the owner had to use a special regulating key supplied by Chubb. With this safety mechanism patented and later improved, Chubb went from strength to strength;  the company even  constructed a security cage for the Koh-i-Noor diamond at the Great Exhibition of 1851, where the diamond descended below the viewing area into a secure vault at night.

"By Jingo, what an absolute whopper, Ada"
The brothers moved their business to Wolverhampton and began to expand their product range to include safes, strong-rooms and doors, and safe-deposit boxes. During both World Wars, the company was occupied with wartime manufacture. In the post-war years, an emphasis was placed on product development to counter the new technologies being used by safe-breakers and other crims.

The company continued with its success both at home and in the export market, taking over smaller locksmith companies during the 50s, 60s and 70s. The Chubb Company was taken over itself by Racal Electronics in 1984, though continued under its registered name of Chubb & Sons etc. Since then, Chubb has been bounced between owners and is now currently part of Assa Abloy, still retaining the recognised company name of 'Chubb'.

As my tin depicts Queen Mary's dollshouse I thought I'd include a few lines about this:

The dollshouse was designed by the reknowned architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, as a gift for Queen Mary from the nation and took four years to complete, being finished in 1924. The queen's cousin, Princess Marie Louise, originally came up with the idea and intended it to document the contemporary lifestyle of the royal family.

If you look carefully, you'll see that the side of the tin depicts the section of the dollshouse shown in the photo below

Built on a one inch to the foot scale and over three foot tall, the dollshouse includes fully functioning lighting and even plumbed bathrooms - complete with a flushing loo! Attention to detail was paramount with well-known authors such as Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle writing special books for the dollshouse library and the cellars being filled with minature bottles of actual wines and spirits. Originally exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924-5, it is kept on public display at Windsor Castle.


  1. I love that tin! Isn't your dad a star? I've spent many an evening in the Chubb building over in Wolves, gorgeous iconic building and nice that it's still in use!
    Loved your comment on my post yesterday. I think we frequent the same fantasy world. xxx

  2. Wow...what a fascinating thing!

  3. Great tin & great find dad! I've seen the Queen's doll's house & I could havew gazed at it for hours.


  4. Loving your tin of the week series. This one is particularly magnifique. Looking forward to more!

  5. Wow, thats a very impressive dolls house and a lovely tin!
    Tamzin X

  6. Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog; its always appreciated.

    I have to thank my dad really for getting me into collecting vintage. He used to deal in antiques and at a young age I went to auctions with him (taking a book to read for the boring ones!) and later to boot sales. Even now, I'll ask him to keep an eye out for things. We were both gutted though when he just missed buying a full set of Beryl Ware for a tenner at a junk stall a couple of months ago!! I definately want to pass the collecting bug down to Monkeychild.

  7. Fab article. Have you ever seen the actual dollshouse? It's so beautiful it makes you want to clap your hands with excitement.

  8. I love tins - I think it is because I had something which is irriplaceable, I was once a proud owner of a tin plate dolls house which I played with a lot, but according to mum it took up to much pace so dad flattened it and through it away, I doubt I will be able to ever own another one.............
    Julie xxxxx

  9. A tin that's also a building! Fantastic!

  10. Gorgeous tin & looks to be in great condition. I have one - but the detail is very faded. Lizzie x


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment on my blog; I do enjoy reading each one.

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