The Mayor of Boston Wanted to Fight Snow with Flamethrowers in 1948

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Many of you are probably either snowed in, cold, or at least inconvenienced by the latest onslaught of flakes. Shoveling sucks! Snowblowers are obnoxious! The elegant solution? Flamethrowers, as asked of MIT by the Mayor of Boston, 60 years ago.

In January of 1948, Mayor James Curley lamented that "the snowfall this year has exceeded that of any year in the history of Massachusetts, and there is every indication that this will continue, with perhaps disastrous results." So what did he do? Not whine. Not worry. Not call in the plows. He called in the cavalry. The flamethrowing cavalry—or at least he tried to.


In this same letter, penned to the whizzes at MIT, Curley, with visions of melted snow dancing through his head, wrote "I am very desirous that the Institute of Technology have a competent group of engineers make an immediate study as to ways and means of removing the the use of flame throwers or chemicals or otherwise." Now that is a man of action. Cory Booker, you are a great mayor and a savvy user of tech in the face of blizzardy menace, but I think James wears the crown of snow ass-whipping concepts. Which is a shame, as we're fairly certain a brigade of MIT grad students with flamethrowers never actually showed up to clean up Boston's snow. But we can dream. [via Murmurs of Earth]