Numismatic Images in the Public Domain

Gold Vault at the Federal Reserve Bank

Federal Reserve Bank of New York gold vault
Popular Mechanics March 1931 (Copyright Expired - Not Renewed)

Related Image: Security Measures at the Federal Reserve Bank

Entrance to gold vault
Federal Reserve Image

This is an artist's rendering of the main gold vault at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This is the second of two images that appeared in the March 1931 issue of Popular Mechanics showing the layout and inner workings of the bank and vault. A recent photo of the vault's entrance shows that it has not changed much in over 80 years.

Opened in 1924, there is no other vault in the world quite like it, and it’s located right in the center of busy lower Manhattan. The main gold vault lies some 80 feet below the surrounding streets. The vault was actually excavated before the building was built around it. It is situated on the island’s bedrock which was considered stable enough to support the weight of all the gold that was to be stored inside.

And the main vault has no doors.

The only way into the vault is through a 10-foot long tunnel that is cut into a 90-ton steel cylinder that revolves in a 140-ton steel and concrete frame. In order to gain access into the vault, the cylinder has to be rotated 90 degrees after first unlocking a series of time and combination locks.