Gadget lovers, wannabe spies and, well, pretty much every guy in existence has pored over the amazing spy gadgets in James Bond films and thought to himself, “I want that!” . From a magnetic Rolex that can deflect bullets (oh, and unzip women’s dresses) to a mobile phone that doubles as a stun gun, it makes you wonder whether these gadgets could ever exist or if they’re all just cool ideas from the imagination of the prop department.
Whilst the real life spy gadgets of the past shown below might not be so high-tech as things you’d see in a Bond film today, all of them have existed and been used at some point...
1. Bulgarian Umbrella
2. Microdot Camera
3. Shoe Heel Transmitter
4. Lipstick Gun
5. Button Camera
Now a staple spy gear item, the pinhole camera was probably first used by the Russian KGB who issued their agents with a mini camera shaped like a standard button, attached to a shutter in the pocket that could surreptitiously be squeezed to take a picture unobserved. I wonder however if the enemy because suspicious when everyone started turning up with the same buttons on their coats...
6. Tree Stump Transmitter
Designed to look like a simple tree stump, this communications interceptor and transmitter was (almost) perfectly disguised. Powered by solar energy, it secretly intercepted Soviet messages and sent them to a satellite, which directed them on to the United States. Miffed at how their communications were being overheard, the Soviets did eventually discover this unnatural tree stump hidden in a wood just outside of Moscow.
Do you think these gadgets are still in use today? Or is it more likely the invisible car and rocket-powered belt of the popular Bond films are secretly more fact than fiction in today’s high-tech society?
Estelle Page writes for Spy Camera CCTV, one of the leading online retailers of security camera systems ranging from standard CCTV to hidden spy cameras for home.