Crunchwear Classics – Machine gun vest from the 1920s is a real blast from the past


Welcome to the inaugural edition of Crunchwear Classics! In this new recurring feature we take a look at the wearable tech of the past. It takes a single step to begin walking you know? We are going to be talking about some innovative, fun and just plain goofy inventions of the years long gone. On today’s retro docket? A ridiculously cool, and ridiculously dangerous, machine gun vest dating back to the grand ole year of 1929.

Yasee,  there was a lot of stick ups back then. Bonny and Clyde and all of that. Banks existed for two reasons, to store money and to give that money away to nefarious robbers. A Chicagoan inventor named Sammy Schwarz got sick of people constantly having to give up loot and precious diamonds so he did something about it. He invented a, well, machine gun vest. When someone dons his vest, and a member of the criminal underworld tells you to put your hands up, it reacts to the arm motion and makes with the bullet flying. You read that right. It shoots off rounds of bullets when the wearer simply raises their hands. So if you were wearing one of these things be sure to NEVER ask a question in class.

The vest is meant to be worn under your clothes though. Everyone wore nice suits back then, and not the grubby t shirts and jeans we pass off as clothing. This means with every use you’d ruin your precious garment. Of course, that’s a small price to pay for surprising a thug by hurling a few bullets in their chest. There’s also that whole ‘innocent bystanders being shot because some bozo accidentally raises his hands’ thing. That’s probably why these suits are not around today.