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Moonraker - The Inspectoscope

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#1 JamesBondBlog



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Posted 19 March 2014 - 02:56 PM

When researching references from the Fleming novels for posts on my site, it's always a bit exhilarating to find exactly where Fleming got his information for something he put into the novels. This one was so interesting to me I had to share it here.   
In Moonraker, Fleming writes:  

The Inspectoscope,’ he read, ‘is an instrument using fluoroscopic principles for the detection of contraband. It is manufactured by the Sicular Inspectoscope Company of San Francisco and is widely used in American prisons for the secret detection of metal objects concealed in the clothing or on the person of criminals and prison visitors. It is also used in the detection of IDE (Illicit Diamond Buying) and diamond smuggling in the diamond fields of Africa and Brazil. The instrument costs seven thousand dollars, is approximately eight feet long by seven feet high and weighs nearly three tons. It requires two trained operators.  

Then I found this in the September 19th, 1953 issue of The New Yorker:  

To top off our visit, Mr. Duncan led us to the rear of the building and showed us the Inspectoscope, which approximately eight feet long by seven feet high, weighs as much as an elephant, is manufactured by a San Francisco firm called the Sicular Inspectoscope Company, cost seven thousand dollars, and consists of a low platform with a cabinet full of unspeakable complicated electrical equipment at one end and a control booth at the other. It is widely used in prisons, he said, to determine whether convicts or supposedly innocent visitors are concealing knives, blackjacks, files and the like.

If interested, here is my full post on the subject:   

#2 Major Tallon

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 04:32 PM

Excellent, JamesBondBlog!  And congratulations on your site.  It's terrific.

#3 Jim


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Posted 20 March 2014 - 05:02 AM

Very interesting; excellent site, too.