Top 6 Antique Spy Gadgets


Spy gadgets are available everywhere nowadays, but they aren’t a modern invention.  In fact they’ve been around for years!

21st Century technology now allows spy gadgets to be tiny, discreet and practically invisible. But before all of these advances spies had to make sure their gadgets blended in with their surroundings.

The spy gadgets of the past weren’t all large and cumbersome; in fact some were rather stylish!

6) Cocktail Olive Microphone

Image by: Adrian Hoffman

But not all spy gadgets are weapons, and spies are always looking for new ways to gather information undercover.

You may be able to buy a recording device quite cheaply now, but over 50 years ago Hal Lipset demonstrated the ease of spying with a microphone hidden in a cocktail olive!

It was made of plastic, with the wooden stick acting as an antenna, and had a range of thirty feet!


5) Pipe Pistol

Perfect for the classy gentleman with a hidden agenda, this pistol disguised as a pipe could kill at close range.

It was used by the British Special Forces during World War II and a simple twist could lead to a rather surprising end!

4) Poison Umbrella

The infamous weapon used in the murder of dissident broadcaster and writer Georgi Markov in London in 1978. Designed by the Bulgarian secret services with the assistance of the KGB, a normal umbrella was turned into the ultimate secret weapon.

The umbrella was converted into a silenced gun, but this gun wouldn’t kill you instantly, instead it would fire a lethal poison under your skin, with only a small sting in the process.

Markov didn’t die until 4 days after the initial sting, leaving plenty of time for the assassin to escape.

3) Lipstick Gun

The lipstick gun was used by the KGB during the Cold War, and contained a single 4.5mm bullet.

Proof that you should never go looking in lady’s handbag!

Image by Helga Weber

2) Cigarette Lighter Camera

Nowadays we think  nothing of having wireless cctv in our houses and cameras small enough to fit on our phones, but 60 years ago cameras were a great deal bigger, which makes it rather impressive that in 1951 the Suzuki Optical Company in Japan managed to fit one into a cigarette lighter case!

Designed as both a novelty item and a genuine spy gadget, this tiny camera could take 20 6x6mm exposures.


1) Exploding Briefcase

Image by: Mark Ramsay

The exploding briefcase isn’t just a Hollywood invention, it really did exist!  But when you’re carrying around an exploding briefcase, I’m not sure you’d ever feel completely safe!

A clever invention by Churchill’s secret army, the Secret Operations Executive, its main function was to act as a regular briefcase carrying around sensitive information. But if anyone wanted a closer look, and didn’t know the correct way to open the case, they’d be sure to regret it!

Spies used to do their jobs with so much more class don’t you think?

Gavin Harvey is a fitness fanatic with a passion for gadgets! When he’s not working he’s busy partying at music festivals and travelling the world. He lives with his partner and two cats and works closely with Traders Warehouse.

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