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Today in Tech History

Gadget geek. Inventor. Life saver. In the James Bond series, “Q” is all of those. The character remains an inspiration for modern technophiles, and today is the 20th anniversary of the death of the man who was the real-life inspiration for Q.

His name was Charles Fraser-Smith, and he was recruited to work for the British government in 1939. He started out making clothing and props for British spies during World War II, and eventually made tools to aid MI6 agents and prisoners of war.

His obituary in The New York Times listed some of his creations:
“He made tiny metal saws and sewed them into standard-issue military shoelaces. He had flight crews carry pipes lined with flame-resistant asbestos that let him hide detailed maps inside — maps that could be burned like tobacco if the airmen were shot down.”

So here’s to Charles Fraser-Smith, the original gadget geek, and the inspiration for the guy who makes James Bond look cool.


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