Underwear to Protect Monarchs
HAD M’KINLEY WORN IT NO ANARCHIST COULD HAVE HURT
VIENNA, Sept. 12.—“An undergarment
of this material,” said Dr. Szcezepanik, “would have rendered the
bullet of that Buffalo Anarchist entirely harmless. A month from
now all rulers and a great many public men the world over will be
wearing them, that is, if we can supply the demand.”
The Austrian Edison pointed to a woven
fabric cut in the shape of a high waistcoat, and, drawn over a lay
figure, possessing just as much elasticity and power of resistance
as a live human body.
“Have you got your revolver with you?”
The correspondent protested that he
never carried such a thing.
“Pardon me,” cried the inventor, “I
thought every American did.”
He opened a drawer containing an assortment
of six shooters of all calibers and makes. The correspondent selected
a well-known pattern registered “seven millimeters caliber,” loaded
it carefully, and took a position near the door.
“No, no,” said Szcezepanik, “nowadays
assassins come up quite closely to their intended victims.”
“What is the proper distance?”
“Suit yourself. Stand off six feet,
or twelve, or fifteen, or two, or four. It’s all the same.”
The correspondent fired at the lay
figure reputed to be made impenetrable by the silk covering, at
a distance of four paces.
The bullet, which was of considerable
size, rebounded the instant it struck, and fell upon the floor.
Three more shots fired in quick succession, and well aimed, had
the same negative result. The correspondent was given full liberty
to investigate. He sounded the lay figure, handled, and punched
it. Szcezepanik does not care at present to reveal the nature of
its material. However, the writer feels certain that it has no metallic
substance. It is pliable and as little resisting to the touch of
one’s finger as the swelling of a woman’s arm.
Impressions of the Shots.
On the covering there
were four dark spots, the impressions of the bullets fired on to
it, not into it. The material is white silk-like and about four
millimeters thick. “One could make a nice winter coat out of this,”
said the inventor, “if it was not so expensive, but a shield of
this stuff worn under the shirt will suffice for the purposes for
which it is intended—the protection of rulers and public men in
general. The shield should cover all vital parts. The head could
be protected by a skull cap, and the face, if necessary, by a fan
or an umbrella of this material.
“And if you want to go still further,
the covers of the carriages used by the Executive, as well as the
curtains and hangings of his box at the theater might be manufactured
of this bullet and dagger proof material.”
Offered Himself as Target.
So sure is Szcezepanik
of the invulnerability of the cloth that he offered himself as a
target to the correspondent, who declined. “There are more than
a dozen men in this factory who feel as strong as I on the subject,”
“President Carnot and the unhappy
Empress of Austria died by the assassin’s knife,” continued the
inventor. “Indeed, at one time the European secret police gathered
information to the effect that Anarchists had decided to abandon
altogether revolver, shotgun, and infernal machines for the dagger.
Hence, a life protector of this kind would not be perfect unless
responding to all possible emergencies. There,” pointing to a drawer,
“you will find an assortment of stilettos, bowies, butchers’ knives,
and several other sorts of knives. Select any weapon you please
and perforate my cuirass, if you can.”
A brigand’s knife was used first,
then a bowie was used, bread knife, and a shoemaker’s knife afterwards,
but the point of neither penetrated the silk material by one-hundredth
part of a millimeter, even though the newspaper man did the stabbing
with all the force and strength at his command.
As to the why and wherefore, Szcezepanik
would only say this: “It’s all in the weaving. The method of weaving
adopted paralyzes concussion by distributing the shock over the
entire area of the garment. Of course the material is especially
selected for the purpose.”
May Revolutionize War.
Szcezepanik is sure
that his invention will at last furnish rulers and public men with
the necessary life protector—necessary as long as there are Anarchists
and other lunatics in the world. As intimated, the price of the
cloth is great, for the present at least, but that cuts no figure.
Eventually the dagger and bullet proof material may become cheap
enough to revolutionize warfare, but that is a long ways off.
It is claimed that King Edward, Kaiser
Wilhelm, the Czar, and President Loubet already possesses [sic]
shields of the Szcezepanik pattern, but the inventor wouldn’t talk
on this delicate point further than to say that he sent one to his
Majesty of Germany on trial. He did this on his own account, but
as the cuirass was not returned it is safe to assume that the Kaiser
is considering the implied proposal. If he did not the cuirass,
being uncalled for, would have been returned without delay, as is
customary at the Berlin court.
Isn’t Like Nikola Tesla.
Jan Szcezepanik, styled
the Austrian Edison by Europe’s scientific press, is several years
younger than Tesla and differs from the latter in that he devotes
all his time and energy to practical experiments. Talking with Mars
doesn’t interest him at all, his discovery of an essence for preserving
eggs an unusually long time pleased him more than the prospect of
opening communication with all the stars in the universe could possibly
Three years ago he was a half starved
teacher in a Galician village school, where the A B C class was
intrusted to his care, as he was considered not advanced enough
to teach in the higher section. Today he is the directing spirit
of the immense electrical works on Pragerstrasse, owned by a stock
company with a capital of 10,000,000 florins. And Szcezepanik has
a controlling interest in the establishment.