Hampshire Biographies

Charles Chubb 1772 – 1846: Inventor of the security lock

The Chubb detector lock patented and produced by Charles Chubb and his brother Jeremiah rapidly became regarded as the best of its kind. Chubb became the name in 19th century security providing locks for royalty, the Bank of England and the duke of Wellington and the company still exists today.

Charles Chubb was born on 16 January 1772 at Fordingbridge, the third child of Charles and Mary Chubb. He served an apprenticeship as a blacksmith and established a ship’s ironmonger business in Winchester with one of his twelve siblings, younger brother Jeremiah who was born on 10 June 1790. Charles married Maria Hayter on 20 August 1798 and the business moved to Daniel Street, Portsea in 1804.

In February 1818 Jeremiah Chubb patented the ‘detector lock’. The lock was made so that if an attempt was made to pick it the detector mechanism came into play and rendered the lock inoperable. To make the lock work again the owner had to use a special regulating key supplied with the lock. Later Charles Chubb patented an improvement which did away with the need for the separate regulator key. He was awarded a special licence of the royal household in 1823 and royal warrant to the prince consort, Prince Albert, in 1841.

Charles Chubb