Stasi / Facebook / Big Data DAAD Day 21 – Automation in Stasi postal surveillance: Kleindampfentwickler with nozzle

The Museum in der Runde Ecke in Leipzig has an amazing collection of devices found in the Leipziger district administration office (BVfS) during the dissolution of the Stasi. These are listed online in a thorough index with photos and descriptions. Their images are much better than those I was able to make through the glass of their museum displays, and while I’ve contacted the Citizen’s Committee about making new ones, they hopefully won’t mind if I reproduce some of them here in the meantime.

Credit: Museum in der Runde Ecke

This steam generator was used, like the Kleindampfentwickler in my previous post, for opening “suspicious” letters. The Stasi Department M works directed the steam from the nozzle at the envelope to loosen the water-soluble glue on the flap. Like the Kleindampfentwickler, it was originally a mass-produced device (the Runde Ecke description states it was originally a medical inhaler). It has a glass tube indicating water level, and was stored in a case containing other working materials (which were not preserved) such as “ether, distilled water, glue, knife, scissors, brushes, adhesive strips and cleaning cloths.”

  1. Steam generator for opening letters (Inventory no. 00031). Objekt- und Fotodatenbank Online im Museum in der Runden Ecke. Accessed June 10, 2017.