Category:
Inventions

Double-Chin Eradicator

I wonder how long you'd have to roll this thing over your face before it made the slightest bit of difference.

The Canyon News - Aug 4, 1938

Posted By: Alex - Sun Mar 12, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Inventions, 1930s

The Total Environment Room

In 1963, GE engineer John L. Matrone came up with the idea of creating a "total environment" room. It would be capable of creating any environment (the deck of an ocean liner, a beach in Hawaii, a rainforest in Tasmania) inside your own home.

Components for the fun room have long been on GE drawing boards.
The space would be 20 feet by 10 feet, with approximately 10 feet of overhead to contain a special piston arrangement and an "atmospheric preparation tank" for creating the real atmosphere of the desire scene.
(You could easily make it snow, said Matrone, but the problem would be "shoveling" all that stuff out afterward.)
One of the room's walls would be arced in 180 degrees for 3-D and motion location scenes.

I don't believe a "total environment" room was ever built, but it sounds quite a bit like the Holodeck in Star Trek (minus the holograms).

The Shreveport Times - Nov 3, 1963



The Shreveport Times - Nov 3, 1963



The Lincoln Star - Nov 3, 1963

Posted By: Alex - Sat Mar 11, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Inventions, 1960s

Gas-Proof Pram

In January 1939, these two photos appeared in numerous newspapers, accompanied by the following caption:

Necessity being the mother of invention, a resident of Hextable, England, recently perfected this baby airing outfit with an eye to the future. The air-tight and gas-proof lid fits over the pram, has an air intake, a window and a filter to insure gas free air. A rubber bulb at the rear of the perambulator keeps the air in circulation. For mother, there's a nice gas-mask.

An example of the strange effort to try to normalize life despite the threat of war. Also evident in such things as the air-raid fashions.



Posted By: Alex - Sun Mar 05, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Inventions, 1930s

Heaton’s Aerocommuter

Back in 1974, David Heaton spent $50,000 pursuing his dream of building an "aerocommuter" -- a two-person flying saucer that would "cost no more than a medium-priced American car," thereby allowing everyone to fly to work.

He claimed to have all the engineering problems worked out, but it doesn't sound like one of these things ever managed to leave the ground.



Aiken Standard - June 6, 1974

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 27, 2017 - Comments (6)
Category: Inventions, Air Travel and Airlines, 1970s

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

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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

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