Crime and Police
Gas Captures Gangsters Without Bloodshed (Sep, 1933)

Gas Captures Gangsters Without Bloodshed

GAS bids fair to replace bullets in bringing criminals to justice.

Experiments conducted recently by the French Gas Brigade proved that an injection of gas into an underworld hideout renders the victims helpless in short order and, more important, avoids loss of life.


Seems like this would be easy to defeat by simply saying to the teller: “If you press that button I’m going to shoot you in the head.”


Designed to be proof against holdups, a remote-control cash drawer has been introduced. When a bandit appears, the storekeeper has only to press a concealed foot button to lock the drawer electrically. It cannot then be opened until a key is brought from a distant place and used in combination with the regular key. The drawer is made of heavy steel plate and is securely bolted to the counter so that it cannot be pried open or carried away. Another innovation is a money locker equipped with a delayed timing control that opens it just fifteen minutes after the combination is set. There is no way to hasten the action. Signs conspicuously posted warn bandits a hold-up would be useless.


This doesn’t seem like it would offer that much protection…

A bullet-proof speaker’s desk has been devised by engineers of a broadcasting system, to protect public men from the attacks of assassins when making addresses to large gatherings. Metal armor shields the body of the speaker from below his waist to a point several inches above his shoulders, when he stands upon a platform. Four microphone outlets are spaced across a panel behind the desk, while spring clips and a lamp are provided.

Border Guard Wages War on Smugglers (Nov, 1934)

Thank god the border guards were able to stem the massive tide of contraband shoes and serapes (see the picture on page 3). Who knows where we would be without their vigilant efforts.

Border Guard Wages War on Smugglers
Daring Patrolmen in an Endless Fight To Halt the Traffic in Aliens and Contraband

By Andrew R. Boone

CROUCHED beside a squat tum-bleweed not fifty feet from the rusting monument that marks the boundary between California and Baja California hard by the sea, the border patrolman scanned near-by hills with his powerful glasses. He was V. E. Williams, one of Uncle Sam’s mounted border officers, and he was keeping vigil on a lonely section of the border awaiting the coming of a smuggler whose habits he had been observing for several days and nights.


She sure seems happy to be handcuffed.

Only the tips of fingers and thumbs protrude from handcuffs of a new style, invented by a former member of the Canadian Mounted Police, and shown above. Each of the metal gloves is hinged in two leaves equipped with locks. The mitten-shaped handcuffs were devised by the inventor in the belief that the ordinary type makes it possible for a desperate criminal, being transported overland, to attempt to grasp his captor’s gun or attack him with the hands.

Milwaukee Police Department Develops Auto Fort (Mar, 1937)

Milwaukee Police Department Develops Auto Fort
A HUGE armored patrol van capable of housing 25 men plus full equipment consisting of revolvers, rifles, machine guns, tear gas bombs, and ammunition is being developed by the police department of Milwaukee, Wis. The mobile fort will be 22 feet, 7 inches long, 9 feet, 8 inches high, and 8 feet wide. The van will have a body of bullet proof metal and windshield and windows will be shatterproof. A bullet proof mesh shield will protect radiator and wheels, and motor will be shielded so repairs can be made from inside.


A “truth chamber” recently devised by a New York criminologist is expected to wring confession of crime from a prisoner by compelling him to study his own features as he replies to a steady barrage of questions. It is a square cubicle with four mirrored walls. A battery of variously colored lights, suspended above the prisoner, plays upon him as he sits in the middle of the chamber. In the mirrors of the “truth chamber” he is able to note any suggestion of uneasiness in his manner or expression, and by changing the light from white to green or blue, detectives make him look worn and haggard. Convinced at last that his face and movements have already convicted him, the prisoner, the inventor believes, will confess.

Beating the Burglar at His Own Game (Dec, 1924)

This is a really entertaining article about the arms race between safe-crackers and the safe-makers/users.

Beating the Burglar at His Own Game

War-Time Tear Gas Is Added to Equipment Used to Foil Bank Robbers and Expert Safe Crackers

SCIENCE again is a lap ahead of the burglar and safe blower in the eternal race between criminals and the law.

The development of the oxyacetylene torch, coupled with the discovery that a rod of ordinary soft steel would help it burn through the hardest manganese steel ever made, for a time gave the bank robber an advantage.

Then science stepped in and produced a new metal which, so far, has resisted all efforts to melt or drill it. The composition is a closely guarded secret, but copper, apparently, is one of the materials used. Applied to vault doors, a sheet of ordinary hard steel is used on the outside, then a sheet of what appears to be a copper alloy, next a thickness of an exceptionally hard material that looks like carborundum, another sheet of the copper alloy, and finally the inside steel plate.


Dressed in his official costume, the German police officer charged with the responsibility of opening bombs found in the mail looks like an ancient warrior clad in armor. The mask and padding are designed to protect him if an explosion should occur, despite his delicate handling of an infernal machine. In the illustration above, a suspicious package is being opened.

Trained Cockroach Smuggles Smokes (Jun, 1938)

Trained Cockroach Smuggles Smokes
How a prisoner in solitary confinement received forbidden cigarettes was revealed by Amarillo, Tex., jail officials. Inmates tied a cigarette and match to the back of a trained cockroach, which smuggled them into the cell.