I have always had a certain fascination with the spy world.

Growing up, I dreamed about having my own secret spy equipment, like this amazing car that also transforms into a submarine.

Of course, I’d have settled for a simple set of walkie talkies as well.

So when I spotted these old-school spy gadgets from the early part of last century, my inner child was screaming from excitement!

Though America’s spy program has been around since the 1900s, it really gained popularity during WWII, with rumors that celebrities like chef Julia Childs and author Roald Dahl were secretly living a double life and working for the government.

Of course, the espionage industry was then further glamorized by the James Bond movies, with spy gadgets becoming increasingly unique and discreet.

Scroll through below to see just how “spy tech” changed the way we gather information with some of the coolest spy gadgets I’ve ever seen!

Steineck ABC camera

The Steineck ABC camera was introduced in 1948 and — you guessed it — is a watch you wear to spy on the enemy.

Spy cameras have been around since the late 1800s, and the technology in this gear was invented by Mr. Walter Zapp. This piece in particular was popular among hobbyists and private detectives.

Gorgeous Gold Ring

This gorgeous gold ring is also a tiny, secret camera.

Developed in Italy, this spy camera was perfect for capturing the enemy close-up and personal. It was one of the smallest cameras ever made and was way ahead of its time.

Watch Camera

This is an even older model of the watch camera.

Disguised as a pocket watch back in the day, it was capable of discreet photography. This vintage piece was the perfect spy-ware for close encounters with the bad guys.

Iconic Cigarettes

This piece of spy tech definitely looks James Bond worthy.

Developed by the same makers who produced those iconic cigarettes, this gear came as a matching set: box of cigarettes and a lighter. With the 16mm film, a spy could ideally take up to 18 photos during faux smoke breaks. Unfortunately, this spy gear was never actually used by the U.S. Army.


This spy binocular-camera was developed and patented in France.

While posing as a regular set of binoculars, this piece of gear could also take long-range photographs. These binoculars were perfect for gaining evidence on the enemy while at a comfortable and safe distance.

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