New York City Police Still Use this Mid-Twentieth Century Contraption to Save Lives

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NEW YORK, NY – Built in 1941, the Laguardia Pike Bomb Conveyor is the oldest piece of equipment in use today by the New York City Police Department. While technology has advanced with leaps and bounds since being built 80 years ago, this bomb conveyor is not only still in use today, it just received a makeover to continue service into the foreseeable future.

The unit, 1 of 3 custom built by the NYC Dept of Public Works, was built in the wake of the 1940 World’s Fair bombing, which took the lives of Detectives Joe Lynch and Freddy Socha.

“Soon after the World’s Fair bomb explosion of July 4, 1940, in which two members of the New York Police Department were killed and several injured, the Honorable Fiorello H. La Guardia, Mayor of the City of New York, summoned the author, as Commanding Officer of the Bomb Squad, to the City Hall for the purpose of discussing the catastrophe and means of preventing a recurrence. As the result of this and several other conferences the “La Guardia-Pyke Bomb Carriers” were developed, James Pyke wrote of the carriers in 1943.

The purpose of these carriers is to take a bomb from a congested area to a remote or suburban district and to do so in a manner that will protect the public and the police. With the construction adopted should the bomb explode en route the explosive forces are reduced to a minimum by means of a triple air-cushioning effect produced by the baffle screens of woven steel cable. This construction allows for the expansion of the gases in event of the explosion but at the same time retains the fragmentation of the bomb, according to Pyke.

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“The first unit was finished in September 1940 the first La Guardia-Pyke Bomb Carrier was completed by the Engineering Bureau of the Police Department. This carrier was built from a condemned 8-ton truck upon which was built a frame work to support blasting mats woven of flexible steel elevator cable. Within this enclosure of framework and mats was suspended a mat folded somewhat like an envelope in which the bomb would be placed for transportation and ultimately exploded,” Pike said of his achievement.