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Bank vault

A bank vault (or strongroom) is a secure space where money, valuables, records, and documents can be stored. It is intended to protect their contents from theft, unauthorized use, fire, natural disasters, and other threats, much like a safe. Unlike safes, vaults are an integral part of the building within which they are built, using armored walls and a tightly fashioned door closed with a complex lock.

Historically, strongrooms were built in the basement of a bank where the ceilings were vaulted, hence the name. Modern bank vaults typically contain many safe deposit boxes, as well as places for teller cash drawers, and other valuable assets of the bank or its customers. They are also common in other buildings where valuables are kept such as post offices, grand hotels, rare book libraries and certain government ministries.

Vault technology developed in a type of arms race with bank robbers. As burglars came up with new ways to break into vaults, vault makers found innovative ways to foil them. Modern vaults may be armed with a wide array of alarms and anti-theft devices. Some nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century vaults were built so well that today they are almost impossible to destroy. These older vaults were typically made with steel-reinforced concrete. The walls were usually at least 1 ft (0.3 m) thick, and the door itself was typically 3.5 ft (1.1 m) thick. Total weight ran into the hundreds of tons (see the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland). Today vaults are made with thinner, lighter materials that, while still secure, are easier to dismantle than their earlier counterparts.

WordNet

bank vault

n. a strongroom or compartment (often made of steel) for safekeeping of valuables [syn: vault]

Usage examples of "bank vault".

He wants to chop through that loft floor and come through the ceiling of the bank vault!

Even with the outer door ripped off and the drawers yanked out and strewn around, the safe still looked as intimidating as the inside of a bank vault.

It was as thick as a bank vault door, but counterweighted so it opened smoothly.

Serious financial music with an arpeggio of profit, while a compound-interest melody played in counterpoint we crossed to the massive bank vault and Bolivar leaned over to look at the indicators.

If the stories are even half true, this facility is far more secure than any bank vault.

Hearing The Shadow's mirth, Burbank cut off the circuit to the bank vault.

In his mind he could see the bank vault-smooth-floored, brightly lit.