Some thought it was a joke when Elon Musk first suggested on his Instagram account that he was going to start selling flamethrowers, however, he was being completely serious. In January, 2,000 people pre-ordered what may look like a harmless Nerf gun, but could actually be a potentially lethal weapon.
On Saturday 9th June in Space X’s car park, 1,000 of these provocatively named “Not-A-Flamethrower” devices were dispatched. They’re sold by Elon Musk’s new business, named The Boring Company. They organised an event for the occasion that had a truck serving food, a band, and many people who came to try out or buy the machine.
An instant success
The flamethrowers went on sale on 27th January and they had completely sold out by 1st February. At 0 a piece and 20,000 units sold, the new company founded in 2016 has made million in the space of a hundred hours.
Since they were sent out, things have gotten a little bit out of control. To prevent all the potential lawsuits that his company could face, Elon Musk tweeted some pretty quirky conditions for use. People in possession of this weapon were still eager to set fire to all sorts of things. Some let their children play with it, or even used it to cook their steak.
In a video made by American Youtuber Justine Ezarik, the system seemed to have some faults. Sometimes you could trigger a release of fire with just a slight press of the finger, the next time nothing would happen. Not really what you’d expect from this type of machine.
The public authorities’ reaction
Not everyone is happy about these types of goods going on the market. The State of California tried to prevent it sale from the very beginning by passing an amendment. But given the fact it didn’t get enough votes, the bill is still under review.
So far, there have been no emergency calls reported that were linked to the flamethrower. But, there’s still 19,000 other people who will get their weapons in the coming months, and so the risk will increase.
There’s still the issue of how people are going to receive their order as, according to The Verge, the UPS Post Corporation refuses to distribute items containing highly flammable propane. So it could be that Elon Musk decides to get the members of his own company to distribute them.