THEME & focus
January 2021
Cold War Spy Cameras

According to the former head of camouflage at the US Central Intelligence Agency, spy cameras are not just the thing of James Bond films, it seems, as agents used a whole host of cleverly disguised versions through the ages. In an interview with Wired Jonna Mendez, we talk about her favorites from her history and her tenure at the agency.

Pigeon Cameras The first type of Mendez spy cameras was the so-called "pigeon cameras" used in pigeons, as its name indicates, and invented in 1907, much earlier than the cold war. The CIA used the same technology for spy years back. The cameras would take a daily photograph, and the agents would take the developed film and develop it when the trained pigeons returned home.

Homing pigeons carried signals for thousands of years. During the battle, they proved particularly helpful. All are said to have depended on communications with birds: Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, and Wellington's Duke (in the battle of Waterloo).

The Army Signal Corps and Navy held the United States during the First World War Pigeon loft. For its brave service during Verdun's battle, the French Government awarded one bird named Cher Ami, the cross of victory. About 250,000 homing pigeons, of which 32 were awarded the Dickin Medal, were preserved in the British World War II and were awarded to animals for war service.

Leave it in the United States. Office to turn pigeons into spies. In the 1970s, a compact, lightweight camera, which could be tied up to the breast of a palm was developed by the CIA Research and Development Office. The bird will fly over its intended destination after release, on its way to its base.

Minox Spy Camera
Often used is the CIA small cameras like Minox spy, Tessina, or Matchbox. The first was so compact and quiet that it was used even by individuals, not officers. The camera from Tessina would go into a cigarette case, and the camera from Matchbox would always be dimmed, you guessed, a matchbox.

This is an odd camera with the size of an index finger, made of dazzling aluminum, long and slender. The spy snaps it by pulling on the ends and stretches the body to expose the lens and viewfinder, clicking the shutter button and opening it for the next shot again.

The photo is not a mythical figure. It is genuine, and it was the latest incarnation of the Latvian dealer Walter Zapp, who received samples of the Leica in 1925 as one of the earliest in Baltic countries. He continued to focus on designs for anything much more significant, inspired by miniature cameras (which Leica was then known to be).

Then various kinds of cameras were worn on the body. The Tessina and Robot T1340 were the most widely used. Both were wounded in the spring, but agents could take pictures without touching the shutter. The cameras were everywhere: a t-shirt, a bra, a tie, a belt,

One of the world's most fascinating instruments for intelligence services is microdot cameras. While cameras were used during the Second World War, their use started in the 1950s really and was commonly used during the Cold War. Only employing a microscope or microdot reader or sometimes by projection are the small images they created (called microdots).

Microdot Camera
Microdot cameras are an indispensable resource in the surveillance industry because ordinary things such as papers, emails, postcards, post-stamps, or recordings are readily dissimulated.

It is almost difficult to spot a microdot with the naked eye so that they've been used so many and effectively in primary underground operations and missions. Microdots. - Microdots. Microdots have many advantages over digital images, which are often easy to capture electronically encrypted content.

Any spy microdot is very rare, and you're too lucky if you find one. The most wanted are CIA cameras in the USA and KGB cameras in the Soviet Union, and German SS and STASI productions in East Germany.
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