A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

History: Matawan Bank Gets First Bulletproof Glass in NJ (1930)

The Matawan Bank was the first bank in New Jersey to get bullet-proof glass, according to the front page of the 9 May 1930 edition of The Matawan Journal. Christian Heuser, President of the bank, said something had to be done to protect the bank lest customers get the impression, despite the bank's adequate insurance coverage, that their money was not safe. "Any successful bank hold-up creates a feeling of doubt and uncertainty in the minds of [a bank's] customers," Heuser said.

"Bandits make a study of protective equipment, and know the weak spots," Heuser said. "They are not concerned about the strong points at all. It is the weak spots they are looking for, and the care with which these plans are made insure that they will find that weak spot."

Heuser added, "To have genuine protection, either a cage or the entire work space must be protected from every side and from the top. When this is done, the bandit is at the mercy of the employees. He is in a trap and can be shot without the employees being in danger."

To provide this additional protection The Matawan Bank is installing along the top of the cage a spiked rail. From thc foundation of this rail, pitched at an angle of 45 degrees the working enclosure will be surrounded with a bulletproof steel.mesh three feet high. A new partition of bronze grill with electrically controlled doors, from the inside of the cage only, will be set across the back passage leading to the door of the cage and up to the directors' room. This will make two cage doors necessary to open before entrance can be had to the working cage.

All rear windows on the main floor and upstairs, will be barred. Each window inside the cage has been equipped with the latest automatic revolvers. All this is in addition to the Duplex Electric Alarm System which was installed when the new banking house was built.

The entire entrance vestibule will be rebuilt in bronze. Heavy bronze doors will replace the outside entrance doors while the door jams and vestibule walls will be refitted in bronze.

See "A Brief History of Bulletproof Windows" at the website for Bullet Guard Corporation. Wikipedia's article provides no details of the history of bulletproof glass.


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