Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Elon Musk starts fixing L.A.’s traffic by handing out flamethrowers

Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez (Getty Images)

Last December, Elon Musk tweeted something that—like a lot of his tweets—seemed like a joke. He said that after his SpaceX off-shoot enterprise The Boring Company had successfully sold 50,000 hats, it would start selling flamethrowers because “kids love it.” A couple months later, people realized how serious Musk was as The Boring Company Not-A-Flamethrower pre-orders went live, immediately sold out, and raked in $10 million dollars in revenue. Now, for the first 1,000 buyers, the wait for literal firepower is over. Just in time for California fire season.


The finished product is about as rad as one would expect. Though it looks more like it should be firing lasers on the set of some sci-fi movie, the propane-fueled gun spews a column of flame that can be used to roast marshmallows or caramelize a crème brûlée. Presumably you can burn non-food items as well. But, as the name suggests, Musk wants to be clear that the Not-A-Flamethrower is not a flamethrower. This is more of loophole for shipping purposes than anything, but the terminology doesn’t seem to bother any of the happy customers. They all seem fairly stoked to be wielding a fire gun in the middle of a parking lot.

Still, we’re forced to ask what exactly these proud flamethrower owners plan to do with their shiny new toys once they’ve finished posing for their photo op. When Verge writer Elizabeth Lopatto asked a few customers attending the release party, they responded with a resounding and enthusiastic, “I don’t know!” From a certain perspective, that’s just fine. As with the Boring Company hats before them, these flamethrowers are simply designed to be a source of funding for the company’s real project—digging massive, underground transportation tunnels. (We realize this is starting to sound like a convoluted Bond villain plan. But this is a normal day in the world of Elon Musk.)


Some have decided to turn their purchase into a quick profit. According to CNN, a few Not-A-Flamethrowers have popped up on eBay for thousands of dollars, pushing the limits of Musk fandom and the public’s need for stupid, flammable fun. Regardless of how you manage to get your hands on the torch gun, Musk and company request that you handle this big, dumb grown-up toy with care and “throw flames responsibly.”


[via Mashable]

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com


Share This Story

Get our newsletter

About the author

Dan Neilan

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Have Fun — Will Travel.