The high security Bramah locks are another sign that this is a very high quality piece of furniture; The Bramah lock was created by Joseph Bramah in 1784 and use a cylindrical key and keyhole. The end of the key has a number of different slots of varying depths, which, when inserted into the lock, presses a number of wafers to a specified depth and enables the key to turn and open the lock. The locks produced by his company were famed for their resistance to lock picking and tampering, and the company famously had a “challenge lock” displayed in the window of their London shop from 1790, mounted on a board containing the inscription:
‘The artist who can make an instrument that will pick or open this lock shall receive 200 guineas the moment it is produced’ – The challenge stood for over 67 years until, at the Great Exhibition of 1851, the American locksmith Alfred Charles Hobbs was able to open the lock and, following some argument about the circumstances under which he had opened it, was awarded the prize. Hobbs’ attempt required about 51 hours, spread over 16 days.
Of desirable proportions, this is a very handsome and fine piece of furniture crafted with the best of materials and fitted out at no expense spared.