Friday, June 11, 2010

The Ingenius Q

Immortalized by Ian Fleming as Q in the Bond books, Charles Fraser-Smith was a resourceful inventor employed by the British Ministry of Supply during World War II to create a panpoly of tools to aid the war effort. His creations included tiny Minox cameras disguised inside cigarette lighters, flashlights with one genuine battery and a dummy 'battery' containing a secret compartment, shaving brushes with secret compartments (accessed by tops that unscrewed the "wrong" way, so any ordinary attempt to 'unscrew' the top would only tighten it), uniform buttons containing a compass or explosive charge, boot laces containing Gigli saws (thin, flexible band saws used by surgeons for brain surgery), maps printed in invisible ink on handkerchiefs which needed to be soaked in urine in order to be seen, cigarette holder telescopes (complete with nicotine stains) -- and that's just a few random examples.

Why tell you about him?

Because he created a garlic-flavored chocolate tablet specifically designed to give secret agents operating behind enemy lines the correct 'continental' breath. Presumably this was chased with a swig of coffee or red wine concealed inside one of those secret compartments. If only Eli Ziplinsky had been asked to produce these garlic chocolate tablets at Zip's Candies for the US Army!