Displayed at a Beauty Shop trade convention in Manhattan's Grand Central Palace, April 1948.
The machine (the MacLevy Leg Massager) was marketed to beauty shop owners. The introduction of home permanent wave kits in the mid-1940s had caused a steep decline in business for beauty shops, so the inventors of machines such as the leg massager were promising the shop owners that they could lure customers back by installing gadgets such as this, which would allow them to offer new services without having to hire trained masseuses.
The leg massager was invented by Monte MacLevy, who filed a patent application for it in July 1939. From the patent:
[It is] the contemplation of my invention to provide mechanical means for massaging a persons legs and thighs in a manner that has heretofore been possible only by a well-executed manual massage. And in this aspect of my invention it is a further objective to effect a simultaneous massage of the calf and thigh so as to produce most efiective results in a minimum of time. It is also within the contemplation of my invention to enable the massaging operation to be effectuated while the legs are relieved of practically all strain, an objective that I attain by providing such supporting means for the subject as to enable him to recline in a position where the legs and thighs are conveniently supported in natural angular relation with respect to each other so that they may be completely relaxed during the massaging operation. And in this aspect of my invention it is a further object to provide mechanical massaging implements simultaneously and operably movable in different directions so as to be engageable with various portions of both legs and thighs.
I wonder whatever became of this miracle product. If Larry Rogers, its inventor, was 31 in 1984, then he'd be 62 now. Is he still working away on it somewhere? Or did the product actually make its way onto the market, though under a name other than "bulletproof wheat"? Who knows. I can't find any follow-up info about the story.
Larry Rogers, 31, a Salinas scientist, figures he has the answer to the nation's wheat and coal surplus problem. Earlier this year he invented a substitute for firewood out of wheat and corn. Now he says he's reconstructed things to make the firewood bulletproof. He says he also can turn it into an excellent replacement for wood as a building material by adding high sulfur coal, carbon and cellulose. The material will also be fireproof. He says it stopped an Army M16 rifle bullet during testing. And, because its impact resistant, it's ideal for protective housing units for troops, he says. The product is being tested at Micro Organic Fuel in Carson City, Nev.
Here's what I'm envisioning: the possibly inebriated rider pulls up in the biker bar parking lot and, eager to join his buddies inside, hops off without disconnecting, instantly and uselessly inflating his jacket and earning much laughter from pals.