Some items, such as the sundial or the VHS, simply get outmoded by superior technology. Some, however—like the following inventions from the early 1900s—may have been useful, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t both hilariously baffling and entirely ridiculous.
It’s hard to imagine that they ever were taken seriously even in their heyday!
1. This stamp lubricator from the early 20th century made it much easier for people to send out letters without having to lick the stamps themselves.
2. Parenty’s Smoking Machine allowed Victorians, to pipe tobacco smoke throughout their homes.
3. This “gas mask pram” was used during World War II at a time when Europeans were justifiably quite concerned about the threat of gas attacks.
4. Parents in the early 20th century were concerned that their children weren’t getting as much sunlight and fresh air as they should. So, these “baby cages” were developed…
5. The “cyclomer” was around to let you cycle through the water with its hollow, buoyant wheels. It was first introduced in Paris in the 1930s, but since it wasn’t particularly effective on land (or off, for that matter), it never gained much popularity.
6. The “Man from Mars Radio Hat” was invented by Victor T. Hoeflich in 1949. It allowed users to literally wear a radio on their heads while looking fashionable, thanks to the power of valve radio technology.
7. In England in the 1930s,they would attach a roller and a shield to vehicles; if a pedestrian got hit, the driver could pull a lever that would pick up the pedestrian with the shovel, protecting the civilian until the car could stop completely.
8. The bed piano was invented in England in 1935 as a way for bedridden people to keep themselves occupied while severely sick.
9. The ice mask from the early 20th century wasn’t known to be particularly effective, but the design was inspired.
10. Parents prefer to keep their children safe and protected by holding them to their chests—or, at least, close to the ground in a stroller. The baby sling from the early 1900s, though, makes that idea very unwieldy.
11. This photo from Germany circa 1925 is any indication that people once thought it was a good idea to swim with flotation devices made out of old bike tires.
12. In the 1930s, idea was to the develop a dimple maker. Medical officials, however argued against the legitimacy and effectiveness of the device.
13. The fax newspaper was meant to print the morning paper in people’s own homes as they slept. Unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly worth the cost, because the process took several hours, so the invention never took off.
Images source: nifymag.com