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Fidelity Safe Deposit Building I
Life Span: 1871-1871
Location: No. 143 Randolph Street
Chicago Tribune, December 16, 1870
THE NEW BRYAN BUILDINGS.
Charles Fabbn v. Thomas B. Bryan and Maurice H. Merriman. Trespass. Damages laid at $10,000.
This is understood to be an action to recover from a house he occupied next to the Sherman House, for the purpose of constructing the building which is now nearly completed, and to prevent the tearing down of which an injunction was sued out, after the house was torn down.
Chicago Tribune, April 28, 1871
While the weapons of offense are being continuing improved, a corresponding advance is being made on the defensive side, and so the balance is kept pretty true. More especially is this case with burglars, who, unlike mosquitos, grow in cunning day by day, while the bankers and others find that the old mosquito bar safes are quite valueless to resist them. In fact, a safe to be a safe ought to bestow upon its contents a safety from wicked hands, guided by wicked hearts, besides a complete immunity from all assaults of the Fire Fiend and others. It is said that Chicago is ahead of everything, even in safes, which is strictly true, her present champion safe being an so-to-speak importation from Cincinnati, for which its owner paid down a certain sum in greenbacks.
New Business Block Adjoining the Sherman House
In Process of Erection By Bryan and Merriman
Engraved Expressly for The Land Owner, October 1871
It is a vault constructed for Thomas B. Bryan, at No. 143 Randolph street, by Messrs. Macneale & Urban, at their safe works in Cincinnati. Mr. Urban is in the city, and superintended its construction. It is a marvel of mechanism and solidity, compact. simple, and sfurnished, like a Michigan avenue residence, with the most modern improvements. It is 17 feet deep, 8 feet high, and 6 feet wide, and is built with five layers, two of hard and soft steel, the others being iron, each layer being half an inch thick. The corners, inside and outside, are secured by heavy angle-iron, 6 inches wide, and one half inch thick, and further with steel plates, from 16 to 20 inches wider, and bent into angular form around the corners.; The body of the vault is put together by rivets, screws, and conical bolts made of twisted steel and iron. There are four of these bolts to every square foot. The space on the outside between the angle-irons is fitted on with one-quarter inch iron plates, giving to the vault an aggregate thickness of 2¼ inches inside the massive masonry. The conical bolts are secured on the inside by heavy wrought iron nuts, and are arranged that they can neither be drawn out or driven in.
The vestibule of the vault is built entirely on the same plan, and has two doors, the inner one leading to the vault being 2½ inches thick, and the other three inches thick. The inner door is attached to the vault by heavy wrought iron hinges, handsomely silver-plated, and secured by heavy round steel bolts, 1½ inches in diameter, operating in a wrought iron frame 2 by 2½ inches, extending all round the door. This frame is attached to the door by means of conical bolts, which secure it beyond the possibility of separation from the door. There are four bolts at the back edge of the door, four in front, and two at the top and bottom. This arrangement fastens the door equally all round. This mass of machinery is obedient to a single 6-number Excelsior lock.very plate composing the door is an “offset.” Besides this, the door is provided with a tongue and groove, fitting closely, and defying the introduction of any explosive liquid—an ingenious arrangement that supplies a long-felt need.
The outer door is made precisely in the same manner, has the same number of bolts, but differs in that in that it has two locks, so arranged that either will release the bolts, or not, as is desired. They can be made to act independently or dependently ny the mere change of the bolt-work. Every business man can se, at once, the immense advantage such a system possesses over the old one. Pn this particular point, exclusive of any other , the vault lays claim to superiority over others.
Inside the vault are 1,018 boxes, with duplicate keys to each, so scientifically adjusted that the key cannot be removed from the box while the door of the box is open. At the further end is a burglar-proof safe, weighing 22,000 pounds, 72 inches high, 45 inches wide, and 30 inches deep. Its thickness is 3 inches. It is put together on precisely the same principle as the vault itself. The door is built in the same manner as the others, and is secured by an Excelsior lock. This safe contains three burglar-proof chests, 2½ inches thick, one above the other, and constructed like the safe and box; making the entire thickness of the safe and box 5½ inches. Such is this splendid piece of mechanical ingenuity and strength, it is a sight worth investigation by all who are interested in the matter of safes. The public, and especially the banking part of it, are invited by Mr. Urban, whom visitors will find all that his name implies, to inspect it and form some opinions of its merits. The safe will be on exhibition for several days at No. 143 Randolph street, Mr. Bryan having freely given permission to the public to inspect it.
Chicago Tribune, May 22, 1871
Messrs. Thos. B. Bryan & Co., have organized a much needed institution in the Fidelity Safe Depository which they propose to open for business on the first day of June, and the vast number of special deposits which are forced upon the banks cannot be responsible for, should here find a place of secure deposit. Small safes, accessible to none but those who rent them, can be had from $15 to $40 per year, the whole building being under the guardianship of the proprietor, who has an efficient corps of watchmen and assistants, as will be seen by the advertisement in another column. Mr. Thos. B. Bryan is well known as a wealthy and responsible citizen, whose reputation and personal supervision will, doubtless, make the enterprise aq success.
Chicago Tribune, October 13, 1871
Thomas B. Bryan & Co. (Fidelity Safe Depository), No. 143 East Randolph street, opened their safes on Wednesday. There was no heat in them or the vaults, every paper and every dollar of the millions on deposit there being safe. Charles Wilson took out $30,000 in good bright greenbacks. The firm of Bryan & Co. have established an office in the ruins, and invite business men and others to bring their valuables and money there, and deposit them free of charge until they can get better accommodations. The place is under a guard of soldiers, who will keep the property secure. The telegraph to the Dubuque Herald that the depository was destroyed is erroneous.
Advertisement on Top, Right is from October 8, 1871.
The Bottom advertisement is from October 18, 1871.
The Hauling and Opening of the Vaults After the Fire
Harper’s Weekly, 1871
Fidelity Safe Deposit Building
NE Corner of State and Randolph Streets