When Vaults were a real thing – High Atompunk Nuclear Scare Living

Living through the 1950’s in the United States must have been great, at least that is the impression you get when you watch the movies of those days, go through popular TV shows like What’s My Line on Youtube. Also, the US was the most powerful nation in the world and had for most of that decade (from 20th January 1953 onward and for the rest of the 50’s) one of the greatest presidents ever to grace the WHite House: Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican most Republicans today would call a stinking liberal, but I digress.

The 1950’s also saw the Second Red Scare and McCarthyism and of course the constant fear of a Soviet nuclear attack. It was the latter that spawned a sector of industry which is the real world equivalent of the Fallout universe’s Vault Tech. There was never a single company that dominated the sector, instead, it was local constrction companies that would build shelters for families or at least deliver parts for self-assembly. Shelters were also constructed for showcase purposes as the black and white photograph below shows, complete with fetching young lady to attract male customers (who at the time were still the main money earners of a family by a wide margin).

While some designs of personal shelters were feasable, others were more fancyful and were more like villas and mansions underground and far from what an average US citizen could afford, here are some examples:


Popular Mechanics and other magazines also published instructions for building shelters completely from scratch if your were really on a budget or were seriously into DIY.

The scare past, the Cold War ended in 1990 and now we can luckily look back at those images with nostaligia, I mean, the designs do look great and could be taken straight from a Fallout advertisemen reel, don’t you think?