Trending: Housing markets across the country show dire warning signs — in West Coast tech hubs, it’s worse

The Boring Company’s $500 flamethrower gets a demonstration. Billionaire Elon Musk says the device should be called “not a flamethrower” to stay on the regulatory safe side. (Elon Musk via Twitter)

Billionaire tech guru Elon Musk showed off pictures of the Boring Company’s first commercial flamethrowers being distributed to lines of buyers today — and joked that the device has been renamed “Not a Flamethrower” so as not to run afoul of customs or shipping regulations.

“First 1000 Boring Company Flamethrowers being picked up today!” Musk tweeted.

As shown in Musk’s tweeted pictures, hundreds lined up at the pickup site in Los Angeles to get their purchases and pose for pictures as flames licked out from the flamethrowers’ barrels.

Thousands more of the contraptions will be shipped out in the weeks ahead, Musk said. An initial offering of 20,000 flamethrowers, priced at $500 each, sold out within four days in January.

The idea of selling flamethrowers to support Musk’s tunneling venture may have sounded like a joke when he proposed it as a follow-up to the Boring Company’s hat-selling operation, but it’s turned into an honest-to-goodness money-raiser.

Some California lawmakers don’t think the idea is as hilarious as Musk does. They sought to tighten up the state’s regulations on flamethrowers, which currently apply only to devices that emit flames going out farther than 10 feet. But that effort went down in … um, do I have to say it?

Here’s how the back-and-forth discussion unfolded on Twitter today:

Update for 10:50 a.m. PT June 11: Musk responded to a tweet from a customer by announcing a donation to the California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund, which supports relief and recovery efforts in the aftermath of wildfires:

Some Twitter users noted that the “not-a-flamethrower” truly was not that much of a flamethrower, compared to the propane-fueled torches that are commonly used for burning weeds (and that are subject to state regulations). “Props to @elonmusk for his hustle tho,” one Twitterer remarked.

In response, Musk acknowledge that there was some hustle at work and announced that “we’re never going to make” flamethrowers again:

Subscribe to GeekWire's Space & Science weekly newsletter

Comments

Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.