Category:
Inventions

Banvard’s Folly

I am halfway thru reading this book and can testify to its greatness, and to its allure for all WU-vies. I have already learned about so many hoaxes, weirdos and charlatans I never knew about before.

Here's how the book opens:




Posted By: Paul - Thu Jul 01, 2021 - Comments (8)
Category: Frauds, Cons and Scams, History, Historical Figure, Hoaxes and Imposters and Imitators, Inventions, New Age, Supernatural, Occult, Paranormal, Books, Goofs and Screw-ups

Polyform, Edison’s Topical Anesthetic





American inventor and businessman Thomas Alva Edison is legendary for his contributions to such technologies as the lightbulb, the telephone, the phonograph, and motion pictures, among many others.1In his lifetime, Edison obtained 1,093 US patents and some 1,239 patents in other countries. Little known among these efforts was his “improved anesthetic compound.”

In the summer of 1882, George F. Shrady (Founder and Editor, Medical Record 1866–1904) (1837–1907), reported that Thomas Edison invented a new anesthetic made of chloroform, ether, alcohol, and camphor and had applied for British and German patents.2The witty but misinformed editor added, “Edison may wish to use it on his stockholders until electric light was in successful operation.”

In fact, the “anesthetic” actually was an analgesic liniment that Edison had prepared in early 1878. He named it Polyform and advertised it for “neurologic pain.” Polyform was a mixture of chloroform, ether, camphor gum, alcohol, chloral hydrate, morphine, and oils of peppermint and clove. Edison believed that his compound’s various analgesics would potentiate each other and that the mixture would attack pain in a “shotgun manner.”3


More info here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jun 24, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Celebrities, Inventions, Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, Nineteenth Century

Horse Spike

In 1899, Patent No. 636,430 was granted to Franz and Konrad Hieke of Philadelphia for what they described as "cavalry equipment". It was essentially a large spike attached to the front of a horse. From their patent:

This invention relates to cavalry equipment; and it has for its object the provision of novel means for protecting the horse from the missiles of the enemy and in the provision of a cutting projection designed to injure the enemy or cause him to evade the projection by stepping to one side where an attack by the rider would be effective.



A better view:

Argos Reflector - Feb 8, 1900



I wonder if one of these was ever actually used in combat?

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 22, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Animals, Inventions, Weapons, Nineteenth Century

Staying awake at the wheel

Over the years, inventors have dreamed up a variety of ways to keep drivers awake while driving.

In 1936, Carl Brown got a patent on a chin-operated alarm device. If a driver started to nod off, and his head fell forward, this would depress a trigger, setting off an electric bell that would wake him up. (Patent No. 2,066,092)



In 1940, Raymond Young had the idea that whenever a driver was feeling drowsy he could press a button on the steering wheel and this would squirt an aromatic spray in his face, waking him up. (Patent No. 2,199,060)



And just last month, Hyundai was granted a patent for a system that shoots ultrasonic beams at a driver's eyes when it senses he's falling asleep. (Patent No. 11007932)

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jun 14, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Inventions, Sleep and Dreams, Cars

The Airphibian

Flying cars just had a recent moment in THE NEW YORK TIMES. But there have been many predecessors.

We are continuing our streak from yesterday's Amphicar: bi-modal transport!



The Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jun 14, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Inventions, Kludges, Hacks and Duct-tape Repairs, Air Travel and Airlines, 1940s, Cars

The 1964 Amphicar

We've featured various amphibious vehicles on WU before. But my research seems to indicate we have not highlighted the most famous, seen in this video. Please note that inventor Hans Trippel was working on this concept thirty years previously, as seen in the clipping.



Source.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jun 13, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Inventions, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, 1930s, 1960s, Cars

The Safety Smoker

The "safety smoker," invented by Glen R. Foote of Cincinnati, promised to allow people to safely smoke "in places where the danger from flying or falling sparks is likely to start a conflagration or cause an explosion."

Perfect for anyone hankering for a smoke in an oil refinery.



San Francisco Examiner - Jan 1, 1933

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jun 07, 2021 - Comments (6)
Category: Inventions, Smoking and Tobacco, 1930s

Alternate Accelerator



Is one's knee action as forceful, subtle and easy to control as foot action?

Source.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jun 03, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Death, Inventions, 1930s, Cars

Urine-Collecting Shoe

Problem: you're out in public and really need to go to the bathroom, but there are no toilets around.
Solution: the urine-collecting shoe, patented by Ran Rahimzada in 2008.

As described in his patent:

An embarrassing situation may arise, when people sometimes need to urinate and there may not be toilets readily available, for example when a person is driving a car on a highway, while touring a city with not public toilets readily accessible, while traveling in a bus, etc...

According to the present invention, a new shoe includes a container to store a person's urine. The person may use a standard catheter, which is connected to the container in the shoe.

This is an unobtrusive device, there is no bag attached to one's foot, etc. The device may be used discreetly, without attracting undue attention.

Posted By: Alex - Sun May 30, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Inventions, Body Fluids, Shoes

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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