Category:
Inventions

Shoes for Walking on Water

Inventor K.O.F. Jacobsen of Seattle, Washington debuted his water-walking shoes in 1934 at a Cincinnati inventors' congress. He later displayed them at several other meet-ups of inventors. But although I've found several photos of models wearing the shoes, I haven't been able to find any photos of someone actually walking on water with them.

The Decatur Daily Review - Mar 30, 1937



The Cincinnati Enquirer - July 17, 1934

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 16, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Inventions, Shoes, 1930s

Japanese Typewriters

The first Japanese typewriter was invented in 1915 by Kyota Sugimoto. By the 1920s these typewriters had begun to be used by Japanese businesses. The San Jose history blog gives a description of how they worked:

The letter tray, which Sugimoto called a “type-nest” in the patent application, is an array of 70 X 35 cells. Each cell holds a metal letterpress-style type, for a total of 2450 characters. Fifty characters were used for numbers, punctuation, etc. and the 2400 remaining Kanji characters satisfied most business requirements, even though the Japanese language uses over 100,000 unique characters. Knowledge of about 2400 characters is required for a high school diploma in Japan, so this is a reasonable compromise for this typewriter.

The paper cylinder and typing mechanism are on ball-bearing rollers, forming a very complex mechanical marvel. Using a Bakelite knob, the operator can move this mechanism left to right or up and down above the type-nest and position the striker over the selected character. Pressing down on the knob causes a pin under the type-nest to push up the selected type block, which is grasped by the striker from above. The striker rotates the type block 90 degrees over a small ink wheel and then strikes the paper. The striker then returns to its original position, dropping the type block back into the type-nest.

The Gatunka blog notes, "The beginning of the end for Kanji typewriters was heralded by the arrival of affordable digital word processors in 1984. By the mid 90s, personal computers also began to become popular in Japanese homes, and the age of kanji typewriters came to an end."

The Whitewright Sun - June 14, 1928



source: Wikimedia Commons



source: Wikimedia Commons

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 15, 2017 - Comments (6)
Category: Inventions

Anti-Cow Kicker

October 1938: Alice Anthony models an "anti-cow kicker" invented by Bill Vernia of Odebolt, Iowa.

Pittsburgh Press - Oct 16, 1938



The Franklin News-Herald - Oct 7, 1938

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 11, 2017 - Comments (6)
Category: Inventions, 1930s

Mousetrap Cigarette Lighter

Introduced at the 1941 meeting of the Inventors of America society in New York — a combined mousetrap and cigarette lighter.

The caption on the first image is confusing. It says "a lever sets the mouse in motion," but I assume that's a mistake. It should probably read, "The mouse sets a lever in motion."

Another newspaper offered the following explanation of the device's operation: "When mouse springs trap, it sends pinball down ramp. Ball releases spring, and up pops an arm which strikes a match."

When the Inventors of America met again later that year in Los Angeles, one of their members showed off some mice-killing pantyhose stockings. So mouse-themed inventions were evidently all the rage that year.

The San Bernardino County Sun - July 25, 1941



The Pittsburgh Press - July 27, 1941

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jan 06, 2017 - Comments (4)
Category: Inventions, 1940s

The New Look in Hot Water Bottles

From 1948. Dreamed up by the folks at B.F. Goodrich.

And it's still a popular look in S&M gear.



The Akron Beacon Journal - Jan 1, 1948



Palm Beach Post - Jan 5, 1948

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 01, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Inventions, 1940s

Mr. Omelet



I am very sad that the original "Mr. Omelet" pan which debuted in 1976 has been rechristened as simply "Rolled Omelet" pan, and lost its wooden handle.





I am even sadder that I can learn nothing about its illustrious inventor, Robert S. Bardin, and that the only image I have of him is a featureless smudge.



Original ad here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Nov 09, 2016 - Comments (5)
Category: Domestic, Appliances, Inventions, 1970s

Gadget-Filled Car

Posted By: Paul - Wed Oct 26, 2016 - Comments (2)
Category: Inventions, 1930s, Cars

The Pyréolophore



The fuel for the world's first internal combustion engine was exploding plant spores.

Details here.


And here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Oct 13, 2016 - Comments (6)
Category: Inventions, Nature, Nineteenth Century

Wonder Boy X-100

Newsweek - Oct 21, 1957


1957: Simplicity Manufacturing introduced its experimental lawnmower of the future — the Wonder Boy X-100. It could mow, weed, feed, seed, spray, vacuum the lawn, and plow snow, all the while keeping its operator in air-conditioned comfort. It had running lights and an onboard radio-telephone. And the manufacturer noted that it could also be used as a golf cart! It went at a top speed of 10 mph.

I don't think that Simplicity ever produced these for commercial sale.







Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 19, 2016 - Comments (6)
Category: Inventions, 1950s

Killed by own invention

That's one way to cure rheumatism.

The Decatur Herald - July 14, 1958



RHEUMATISM CURE FATAL
Charles Werly, 52-year-old Swiss inventor, called in a group of specialists Saturday to demonstrate his new electric-wave apparatus for curing rheumatism.
Werly fitted the machine on himself, switched on the current — and died. The watching doctors said he was killed by a 220-volt charge passing through his body.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 14, 2016 - Comments (7)
Category: Inventions, Experiments, 1950s

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