Mosler, the company that built the safe, saw the incident as a great marketing opportunity. For the next decade, it exploited the tragedy to boast about the quality of its products. Safe? Certainly. “Your products were admired for being stronger than the atomic bomb."
The Teikoku Bank opened in 1925 as the Mitsui Bank with the same vaults that eventually survived the Hiroshima blast. The two-story structure was 360 meters from the hypocenter of the bomb and all that was left was its facade—and the Mosler vaults. At the time of the attack (8:15 a.m.), the bank had six night duty staff and twelve or thirteen female employees working there. None survived.
The ‘unbreakable’ and ‘atomic bomb-proof’ vaults and safes were very well received by banks in both the United States and overseas. Both the Farmers State Bank and the Merchants National Bank proclaimed their acquisition of Mosler vaults and safes proudly, adorning most of their advertising and pamphlets with stock photos, model names and testimonies of Mosler Safe Company products. The ‘Atomic Age’ was a time of much trepidation and anxiety, fear of the Reds and nuclear fallout circulated everywhere. Safeguarding one’s material wealth and livelihood became just as important as protecting loved ones and preserving oneself. Indeed, the American Banker publication stated that “[m]any of the estimated 13,000,000 holders of safe deposit boxes [in the United States] have voiced their concerns over the resistance of bank vaults to atomic explosion, according to letters from bank officials.” Mosler provided the solution, therefore, encapsulating the public mood into more profitable enterprises.
The Mosler Safe Company continued to perform well and achieved great success in the public sector and governmental functions, executing numerous contracts for the production of vaults and bunkers, including one vault to house the original Declaration of Independence. Indeed, it developed a separate division to incorporate what it termed “protective construction” projects. One such protected project was the assembly of a 25 ton vault door to reinforce the then-secret bunker for the members of Congress, located at the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
Despite these successes, even the dogged and cunning executives of the Mosler marketing department and PR office were unable to rejuvenate the company in the wake of economic disparity and competition from overseas that plagued them in the late 1990s and early 2000s. With 153 years to their name, the Mosler Safe Company ceased to trade in 2001, closing its offices in Hamilton, Ohio in that same year. Surviving an atomic blast in 1945 ensured the company’s apparent invulnerability and indestructibility in the market. The ‘Atomic Age’, too, brought with it a ceaseless stream of customers and economic prosperity. Ultimately, however, the ‘Atomic Age’ was but a transitory phase, the economic explosion of the Mosler Safe Company mirroring the half-life of Hiroshima’s radioactive fallout, decaying in potency and energy as the years went by.