Science Outwits Industrial Spies (Oct, 1931)

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Science Outwits Industrial Spies

Priceless Secrets in Steel, Dye, and Chemical Plants of Germany Guarded from Sneak Thieves

AN ELABORATE system of industrial spies, working with almost wartime efficiency, was discovered recently in Germany. In the great steel, dye, and chemical plants of that country, this organized band of informers is attempting to ferret out the closely-guarded trade secrets which give an advantage over competitors. Because of the economic crisis in Germany, these secret manufacturing processes are being more jealously guarded than ever and the factory owners are using the latest scientific aids to stamp out the crooks.

How the spy of industry operates is shown in the remarkable set of photographs on these pages. Gaining entrance to a factory on some pretext, he makes the most of the few moments at his disposal, using all the tools of modern science. If possible, a diminutive camera under his hat or in his buttonhole snaps secret industrial processes. Hasty sketches are made of an intricate machine’s vital parts. He camouflages stolen plans with innocent-looking sketches of landscapes.

To combat him, manufacturers, when they convey valuable trade secrets by letter, use a code known only among themselves. Detectives keep unknown visitors under surveillance with tapped telephone wires, periscopes and microphones.

4 comments
  1. Wayne Johnston says: January 31, 20115:44 pm

    Good thing the magazine added an arrow to that photo of the microphone in the lamp shade. I never would have spotted it otherwise. That message wrapped around the wooden rod was pretty crafty too. I never would have thought of it if the ancient Greeks hadn’t discovered it in the 7th century BC. See http://en.wikipedia.org….

    It’s like this article was written for kids (or by kids).

  2. Repack Rider says: January 31, 201110:56 pm

    The “industrial spies” who depended on party tricks like these were the ones who got caught. That comb trick is like a homemade “secret decoder ring.” Unbreakable.

    X-ray exposure for the unsuspecting. Probably a bigger health problem for the operator than for the occasional visitor.

  3. jayessell says: February 2, 20117:02 pm

    The spies should have stolen the fancy periscope!

  4. whoozle whaazle says: November 15, 20115:44 pm

    Not only were the photographic plates blackened by the x-rays, the men were no longer able to have children :)

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