Other than his dashing looks, amazing one liners, and charming way with women, James Bond is iconic name in the movie universe because of not only the adventures he was in but the way in which he had his adventures. Before James Bond we never really saw a spy character who was so slick, so well fashioned, and also so well equipped. He had the latest spy technology at his disposal so he could get a leg up on the enemy.
For over 50 years James Bond movies have been delivering us gadgets we all wish we had in the real world. As it turns out however, since before the 60s the government has been making Bond-like gadgets all along. Thanks to the International Spy Museum we can now see what these are and what they did.
Here are 20 James Bond gadgets that already exist:
Buttonhole Camera, model F-21
This spy tech was widely used in the Soviet Union, Europe and the U.S. Codenamed ‘Ajax,’ the camera’s trigger was held in the pocket, and a camera lens was hidden within a button in a regular coat.
Tree Stump Listening Device – Early 1970s
Designed and used by the CIA, this stump would be placed near a Soviet base and used to intercept radio transmissions. The data would then be sent up to a CIA satellite and beamed to the U.S.
Lipstick Pistol – Circa 1965
While this lipstick looked ordinary, it was designed and used by the KGB during the Cold War and was capable of firing a deadly .177 round.
Eyeglasses with Concealed Cyanide Pills – Circa 1975-1977
You always hope that every mission goes according to plan, but sometimes you get caught and disavowed. In the case of a compromised agent, the CIA required that you chose death over torture and issued hidden Cyanide pills inside of the arm.
Glove Gun – Circa Unknown
This gun was developed by the US Office of Naval Intelligence and was designed to be triggered by pushing the top plunger into the enemy.
Steineck ABC Wristwatch Camera – Circa 1949
This was developed in West Germany, and had a tiny camera that was situated on an agent’s wrist and was capable of snapping 8 photos. Since there was no viewfinder and no other way to see what was in the frame, you just had to make sure your wrist was angled in the right way to catch the shot.
Dog Poop Transmitter – Circa 1970
This is probably the best way to spy on someone-by hiding a transmitter in something no one would ever touch. This was issued by the CIA during the ’70’s, and transmitted a radio signal to coordinate airstrikes and do recon.
Tessina Camera and Cigarette Case Concealment – Circa 1960s
While this looks like a pretty sturdy case for cigarettes, it was actually a hidden camera developed by the German Stasi during the 1960s. This way, the operative was able to grab a smoke, while secretly taking pictures, simultaneously.
Gas Assassination Weapon – Circa 1950s
Developed by the KGB, this weapon was actually used by Soviet spy Bogdan Stashinsky to assassinate two Ukranian dissidents by disguising it within a rolled up newspaper.
Rectal Tool Kit – Circa 1960s
When you need to smuggle something that you don’t want found, where do you put it? This was used by the CIA, and was a novel way to get the tools you need, where you need them, without getting them confiscated.
Pigeon Camera – Circa 1916-1917
During WWI, the Germans devised this method of getting reconnaissance on enemy positions. The camera was placed on a timer and the birds were set free to fly over the battleground. Upon returning, the birds were caged and the film developed, so that the Germans could come up with real-time strategies.
Explosive Water Canteen – Circa 1942-1945
During WWII, some US Army Intelligence officers were issued this canteen, which contained explosives in the lower portion of the container.
Shoe with Heel Transmitter – Circa 1960s-1970s
While a pretty common piece of tech, this one was particularly crafty as it was a shoe stolen from a U.S diplomat by a Romanian Secret Service agent, and outfitted with a hidden microphone and transmitter.
Tobacco Pipe Pistol – Circa 1939-1945
Developed by the British Special Forces, this was a firearm disguised as an ordinary pipe. Despite its size, it packed quite a punch.
Explosive Coal and Camouflage – Circa 1942-1945
This lump of coal was developed by the United States OSS during WWII. Within it, is a hollowed out centre, filled with an explosive. The camouflage kit they included with it, was to paint the lump of coal into the exact colours of the local coal you were inserting it into. Then, when the enemy combatants threw the coal in the fire, the spy coal would detonate.
Flashlight Gun – Circa 1930s
There’s very little info on who developed this nasty, little gem or who used it, but it was a functioning flashlight, with a deadly barrel.
Hollow Coin – Circa 1950s-1990s
Still in use until the end of the Cold War, this was a common tool for all covert agencies to use, offering clandestine storage for microdots and microfilms. All you needed was a needle to poke into a hole in the face of the coin, to open up the two sides.
Time-delay Pencils – Circa 1943-1945
Issued by the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during WWII, this gadget was designed to look like a pack of pencils, but was actually a time-delay incendiary device, which allowed the operator to get to safety.
Key Casting Kit – Circa 1960s
This kit was issued to CIA operatives and designed to duplicate keys by making an impression in putty, and then casting a model of the original.
Lockpick Pen – Circa 1970s
Issued by US Intelligence, this pen contained all the tools an operative would have needed to pick a standard door lock.
Escape Boots – Circa 1939-1945
These boots were actually pretty clever. They don’t look like much, but they were worn by British MI9 pilots, and when you took the top parts off, they looked like regular shoes, allowing the downed pilots to blend in.
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