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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Razor-Bladed Frisbee, Oxygen-Mask Bong, and 13 Other Crazy Inventions Seized by '70s Cops

Posted By on Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 7:00 AM

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Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from Golden State thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

A stack of FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

Date: Spanning the 1970s
Publisher: The Federal Bureau of Investigations
Discovered at: The Prelinger Library

Representative Quote:

"We have attempted to portray a typically neurotic housewife. When stopped for a traffic violation, she is usually very upset. In picture you see that she is a most unhappy person." (January, 1971 article titled "Police Handling of Emotionally Disturbed People")

Perhaps America's finest resource for gray-shaded photos of flat-topped men on drab stages handing each other certificates of merit, old FBI Law Bulletins often aren't all that much more interesting than any other trade magazine -- there's the occasional piece on how copying machines are changing things, or what it would be like if women had these jobs, too, and then maybe some photos of giant mainframes.

But, throughout the 1970s, the editors would on occasion devote the inside of the back cover to a photograph of some fascinating jerry-rigged contraption cops someplace had seized.

These are often terrifying, awesome, and/or ridiculous. This death Frisbee is all three:

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As is its less elegant but still plenty scary off-brand counterpart:

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"Although the knife was dull, it was able to penetrate a telephone pole from a difference of 50 feet." This statement tells us two important things: 1. That the cops who confiscated it really enjoyed playing with it. 2. The answer to the riddle, "How is an improvised lawnmower-blade 'throwing knife' like Wilt Chamberlain?"

Month after month, the top criminal minds of the 1970s fashioned themselves the kind of homemade weapons you just don't see these days. In some ways, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin is like an Annie's Pattern Club for the solder-together-some-saw-blades set. It's a testament to America's can-do creative spirit,

\While most of this crazy '70s Macgyver gear was designed to jack up enemies, a couple clever items were built for the jacking up of self.

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Here's a design breakthrough: A device that, in the course of being used, criticizes its own infantilizing effect upon the user.

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The only other invention I can think of that does that is the PT Cruiser.

This next weapon seems to be designed to make metaphorical attack on America's starchy diet.

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But, unfortunately, this lipstick gun does not seem to be making a point about what society drives women to do to themselves.

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Next: Hidden knives, hidden guns, and a booby trap. [NOT A PUN, I SWEAR.]

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Alan Scherstuhl


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