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August 5, 2016

These Are 15 of the Dumbest Inventions in the 20th Century

Most great inventions are called “dumb” or “silly” or “useless” for a while before they actually take off. The personal computer, for example, was said to be a pointless invention that no one would ever want – and now just about every home in the developed world has one. But not all inventions are winners – some really are dumb, silly or useless. Here are a few of the worst inventions of the 20th century.

1. Laryngaphone, 1929

Photo: S. R. Gaiger/Getty Images

A man at a shipping exhibition in Olympia, London, demonstrating the ''Laryngaphone, '' a noise-excluding telephone which only transmits vibrations from the vocal chords when the microphone is placed against the throat or cheek. For the man who wants to annoy both his wife and his mistress.

2. Baby Cage, 1937

Photo: Reg Speller/Getty Images

A nanny supervising a baby suspended in a wire cage attached to the outside of a high tenement block window. The cages were distributed to members of the Chelsea Baby Club in London who have no gardens, or qualms about putting a child in a box dangling over a busy street.

3. Motorized Surfboard, 1948

Photo: Peter Stackpole./Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Back in 1948, there was apparently nothing weird about riding across a lake on a motorized surfboard while wearing a nice suit and bowler hat and smoking a cigarette. Forget his lack of safety gear – inventor Joe Gilpin looks cool gliding along on the water.

4. Cup Bras, 1949

Photo: Nina Leen/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Charles L. Langs poses with his strapless, backless, wireless, support-less bras. His wife is justifiably dubious.

5. Curved Barrel Machine Gun, 1952

Photo: Keystone/Getty Images

The 20th century saw many astounding technological innovations. The automobile revolutionized the way people live and work, the internet changed the way people think about information, and the U.S. of A put a man on the moon. But some technological advances that came in the earlier part of the 20th century weren't exactly meant for the history books. Because they were stupid. Take, for example, this M3 sub-machine gun with a curved barrel for shooting around corners. It's the perfect gun for the "shoot first, look where you're shooting later" kind of guy.

6. Rainy Day Cigarette Holder, 1954


President of Zeus Corp., Robert L. Stern, smoking a cigarette from his self-designed rainy day cigarette holder.

7. Cigarette Pack Holder, 1955

Photo: Jacobsen/Getty Images

In the 50s, everyone smoked. In fact, they couldn’t smoke fast enough if this cigarette pack holder is any indication. Did the inventor of this fine contraption not know that excess nicotine causes violent vomiting, dizziness and severe headache?

8. Honegar, 1959

Photo: Fritz Goro./Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Inventor of a honey and vinegar mixture, called Honegar, Dr. DeForest C. Jarvis. Honegar was said to be a folk remedy for aches and pains, though it mainly sounds like a cure for lack of nausea.

9. Fast-Draw Robot, 1960

Photo: J. R. Eyerman./Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Robot equipped with fast-draw invention shoots it out with live gunner. It's always easy to question the wisdom of giving a robot a gun, but also making him quick on the draw is just irresponsible.

10. Illuminated Tires, 1961

Photo: Douglas Miller/Getty Images

A woman adjusts her stocking by the light of the Goodyear's illuminated tires. The tire is made from a single piece of synthetic rubber and is brightly lit by bulbs mounted inside the wheel rim.

11. Rocket Belt, 1961

Photo: John Loengard./Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Engineer Harold Graham salutes President Kennedy after demonstrating Rocket Belt for him.

12. Finnish Portable Sauna, 1962

Photo: Yale Joel/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

You can carry it anywhere and everywhere. Like, office, public washrooms, even in public transport.

13. Anti-Bandit Bag, 1963

Photo: Fred Mott/Getty Images

Inventor John H T Rinfret demonstrates his anti-bandit bag. To foil thieves the chain is pulled and the bottom of the case falls out so the contents are scattered over the floor. That'll stop those thieves from getting at the contents of your bag! No, wait. It won't.

14. Hubbard Electrometer, 1968

Photo: Evening Standard/Getty Images

American science fiction writer and founder of the Church of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard uses his Hubbard Electrometer to determine whether tomatoes experience pain, 1968. His work led him to the conclusion that tomatoes "scream when sliced."

15. Shower Hood, 1970

Photo: Keystone/Getty Images

This shower hood from 1970 has us baffled. Is it meant to keep your head dry while you shower? Or does it let you just wash your hair while your face stays dry?

1 comment:

  1. The Laryngaphone was used in noisy environments. e.g. inside a 1930's air ballon.


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