The Nothing Box

A gag gift from the early 1960s, created by inventor Jack Hurlbut: "When a button is pressed the lights flash, the dials spin, the switches turn—and nothing happens."

It briefly made headlines in 1965 when a man took one with him on a flight, and was promptly detained on the suspicion that he was carrying a bomb.

The Nothing Box is another one of those vintage curiosities that seem to have completely disappeared. I can't find any evidence that one of them still exists.

Wisconsin State Journal - May 18, 1964

Detroit Free Press - Dec 28, 1965

Detroit Free Press - Dec 28, 1965

     Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 21, 2020
     Category: Inventions | 1960s

Way in the dim, dark recesses of my memory I remember a story about a spy agency that planted a small box that fit the description of today's subject. It was intended to soak up effort and time of the opposition into trying to determine the purpose of the device. In that regard, it actually had a purpose as a time sink.
Posted by KDP on 02/21/20 at 09:08 PM
I dare somebody to bring that on a plane today...
Posted by Brian on 02/22/20 at 09:12 PM
I'm writing a book about the Beatles in french. There's a famous picture of John Lennon with a Nothing Box ( Some pretend he bought it in USA during Beatles 65 american tour. But most of biographers say it was built by his friend in London, "Magic Alex". I would like to know more about this box. Do you have more information ? Do you have the full article of the Wisconsin State Journal - May 18, 1964 ?
Thanks a lot

Posted by Emmanuel on 04/13/20 at 06:04 AM
Hi Emmanuel,
I was totally unaware that Lennon had any involvement with the Nothing Box. Personally, I find it easier to believe that Lennon would have bought one in America, since they were being sold in the States as early as 1962. If you have access to any news archive, you'll find quite a few stories about the Nothing Box from 1962, when it made its debut.

I uploaded the full Wisconsin State Journal article which credits Jack Hurlbut as the inventor of the Nothing Box:
Posted by Alex on 04/13/20 at 01:18 PM
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