Henry Brown was an African American who invented a type of strongbox.

Strongboxes had been around at lease since 1835, when English inventors Charles Chubb and Jeremiah Chubb received a patent for a burglar-resisting safe.

Henry Brown was an inventor who saw a need for a convenient and secure way to store money, valuables and important papers. At that time, people commonly kept those type of items in wooden or cardboard boxes in their homes or entrusted them to local banks. Both of these options presented dilemmas. While banks generally provided safety against theft, they did not prevent bank employees from reading through personal papers. At the same time, keeping the items at home could help to keep prying eyes away, but there was little to prevent burglars from quickly and easily grabbing valuables and making off with them.


For Henry Brown, this was unacceptable. He saw a gap to create a tiny safe, complete with lock and key, which could only be accessed by the individual who had the key. He came up with  a design of forged steel, which was almost impenetrable, and several different compartments inside of which one could store documents and so forth. This box, which we know as a strongbox, could be stored at me for personal safety, or in a bank for additional safety, without the risk of your personal space being violated.

He patented his receptacle for storing and preserving papers on November 2, 1886 and it developed into what is now known as a strongbox.


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