"Are you interested in Federal Lab. history?
My dad was president until his death in 1971. From what I know, those pen guns were available all the way back into the early ‘50’s. It’s hard for me to help more, as I am not in the business.
OK, fine, here’s a real story from Federal, from my dad. Back in the 30’s, there was a big strike at Ford. OK, how to get the gas in? My Dad rented a funeral hearse and drove the gas across the picket line that way. Pretty James Bond, huh? Well, in a way, I mean. We always knew when bad strikes were happening, based on the orders for tear gas. What were the worst? Labor, especially W. Virginia miner strikes.
What about TV? In 1956, Federal met Jack Webb. He did an episode where he showed tear gas being used to roust a suspect from a home. Incidentally, Jack did not shoot the gas. Why? He was, well, intoxicated a lot. An actual LA cop shoots the gas. Wish I had that episode. Webb sent it to Federal, along with his autograph. If you find it, here’s is the big thing: They shoot Federal Lab. gas, but, for some strange reason, Sgt. Friday wears a Lake Erie mask, not a Federal one. Booo,boo, from Federal Lab. Down with Lake Erie, the competitor. " - Blair Reynolds, Fairbanks AK
Battery Powered Tear Gas Billy
Marked: Federal Laboratories Inc Pittsburgh PA USA on but cap and B 1837
Pat SEPT 15, 1925
DEC 15, 1925
DEC 29, 1925
on the side.
This variant has the small mouth at the end of the barrel and is brass but the most unusual thing about this one is that it takes a C battery. This variant also has an aroury tag #606 on the leather wrist strap.
$27.23 in 1956
Taken from a 1956 catalog:
The Federal Billy represents a combination of two indispensable weapons; a rugged hand billy and a powerful Tear Gas Gun. It is widely used by law enforcement officers, watchmen, guards, messengers, prison attaches and thousands of private citizens. It has supplanted dangerous firearms in banks, prisons, reformatories, residences, etc, and is used by US Treasury Guards and other Government Agencies.
Only 9 1/2" long, the Federal billy is short enough to fit into a pocket, or it may be carried by the stout leather thong attached to the handle. The barrel is non-breakable, and is covered with high grade ring leather. The Chromium metal handle contains an ingenious trigger device, protected by a patented safety guard. the powerful gas cartridge is concealed in the barrel. Available in two models,; the continuous discharging spray type and the blast type.
The Spray Type Billy fires a progressive combustion cartridge from a choked opening in the end of the barrel. The 3 second continuous discharging feature permits spraying five to ten persons with gas from a single cartridge. This model is particularly safe for close range use, because gas is only ejected.
The Blast Type Billy propels a heavy instantaneous gas cloud from ther open end of the barrel. It uses a special long 10 gauge cartridge, almost twice the size of any similar billy. The cartridge contains no liquid, only a solid mixture.
The model may be equipped with a 10" barrel, where a longer weapon is desired, increasing the over-all length to 14".