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Flamethrowers Find Industrial Uses

Posted April 27, 2016 9:04 AM by HUSH
Pathfinder Tags: fire flamethrower weapons

The citizens of the United States love weaponry. Ignoring all the political and social implications of gun ownership, the U.S. is first in private gun ownership with more guns than people (Who's number two? Serbia). According to a 2015 estimate, there are roughly 1.12 guns for every U.S. citizen, although that's assuming every civilian gun since 1899 is still operational and in the U.S. Other estimates aren't so high, but the point is there are between 245 million and 357 million privately-owned firearms in the country.

Believe it or not there are many restrictions on firearms in the U.S., although very few are outright banned for private use (pretty much post-1986 machine guns and that's it, but local laws can be different). This includes ridiculously over-powerful weapons such as miniguns, black powder cannons, grenade launchers and, the subject of today's blog, flamethrowers.

The history of the flamethrower goes back as far as Greek fire, a napalm-like substance used by the Byzantine navy in the 7th century to great effect. It was loaded into reservoirs on special ships and pumped through a siphon to spray enemy vessels. The substance would ignite on contact with the vessel without an external ignition, and would also burn and float on top of the water. The Byzantines kept it a very closely guarded state secret, so much so that attempts to reproduce Greek fire today all fall short.

Incendiary weapons such as Greek fire largely fell out of use until the World Wars, where troops found it helpful for clearing enemy trenches, bunkers, pillboxes, and wilderness. After WWII, flamethrowers saw limited use in Korea and Vietnam, but their effectiveness was questionable. Eventually they were discontinued from most arsenals, and are actually banned from most military uses by the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. This might be for the best, because flamethrowers have some legitimate-and less legitimate-civilian uses.

Flamethrowers have slowly become a modern alternative to herbicides and pesticides in sensitive environments. Smithsonian had an article in March that detailed the use of flamethrowers by the Maryland National Parks and Planning Commission. Workers flame invasive plants because chemical applications can run-off into nearby streams or harm native animals and insects. Chemical applications are more expensive and require licensed application, whereas the flamethrower requires just a worker and some training.

A hoax news report in 2013 stated a Fargo, North Dakota, man was arrested after he used a flamethrower to clear his property of snow during a week of blizzards. We know this isn't true because a) flamethrowers are legal in North Dakota, and b) there is plenty of evidence of the people doing just that. When John F. Kennedy's 1961 presidential inauguration was threatened to be delayed by 8 inches of snow, the Army Corps of Engineers took to the streets of Washington D.C., flamethrowers in hand.

Anyone who's done roofing work is probably familiar with roofing torches, which can often be purchased for less than $100. But if you're looking for the full experience, consider the X15 flamethrower (at left), a $1,750 consumer product that shoots jet streams of flame up to 50 feet, and comes in six colors. Bad news for Maryland residents: it's against your state's fire code.

It seems like the flamethrower is another military spin-off that has grown into more applications as the military stigma wears off. Thankfully I can still order one.

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Re: Flamethrowers Find Industrial Uses

04/27/2016 7:08 PM

Anti Car Jack device:

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Guru

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Re: Flamethrowers Find Industrial Uses

04/28/2016 7:40 AM

The best auto theft protection,and general all purpose tool kit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8oPVVGYQ40

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