Impressively Bizarre Inventions From The Past

Good ideas and inventions are what help us to progress as a society because, without them, we could still be living in caves. However, some inventions are less useful than others, so take a look at these bizarre concepts from the past!

Strangely Familiar

Picture of vacuum
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

When the innovative Roomba hit the market, people were enamored with the concept of a small robotic vacuum.

Yet, as it turns out, the concept is pretty old news. Here is a Robo-Vac doing its job, which was part of Whirlpool’s Miracle Kitchen of the Future, on display in 1959.

That’s No Toy

Picture of a camera
Culture Club/Getty Images
Culture Club/Getty Images

Today, most people’s cameras fit comfortably in their pocket, usually as a feature on the phone, with many being able to take professional pictures.

Of course, that wasn’t always the case, and during World War II, soldiers had to use massive cameras such as these to take pictures from the sky.

Into The Depths We Go

Picture of Diving Suit
Capital_Invite/Reddit
Capital_Invite/Reddit

Would you be willing to jump into this suit and go underwater? Well, if not, think about all the people that once did.

This is an image of the oldest diving suit, known as the Old Gentleman, from the 1860s.

Looks…Comfortable

Picture of Morrison Shelter
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Unfortunately, back during World War II, a major concern was that people’s houses would literally collapse on them during the night during an air raid.

So, this device known as a Morrison Shelter was introduced to help prevent the person sleeping from being crushed. Also, it could double as a table!

On The Go

Picture of a cell phone
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Although today, cellphones are getting smaller and more powerful by the year, they were anything but that when they first came out.

Featured here is Motorola Vice President John F. Mitchell, showing off the company’s newest Dyna T-A-C Portable Radio Telephone System. Looks convenient!

Now That’s Futuristic

Picture of a motorcycle
ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images
ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images

We’re not going to lie, this looks like something that we might see in a Star Wars film, but this is anything but modern.

This device is a one-wheel motorcycle in action back in 1931! We want one too, but we have reservations about its safety!

Ahead Of Its Time

Picture of a rail zeppelin
George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images
George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images

Here is a Rail Zeppelin, which held the world’s speed record on rail, traveling an impressive 143 miles an hour.

It managed to travel 160 miles between Hamburg and Spandau in just 1 hour and 36 minutes! Furthermore, this locomotive could seat fifty people and got four miles to the gallon.

So Much For Wireless

Picture of lines
jaykirsch/Reddit
jaykirsch/Reddit

While wireless devices have been all the rage since their initial invention, not long ago, people still needed to use their phones, and there were a lot of wires.

This is a picture of what was known as the Telefontornet, a telephone tower in Stockholm, Sweden, in the 1890s that contained around 5,500 lines.

Beginning Of A New Era

Picture of a radio
Sovfoto/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Sovfoto/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a radio in most homes these days, but in the past, it was like owning a TV.

So, when the first radio came out, you can imagine how mind-blowing it was. Here are peasant farmers in Russia listening to a radio for the first time in 1930.

Taking A Stroll

Picture of skates
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Now here’s an invention that never really caught on. This is a woman in 1959, riding a pair of motorized roller skates as she pushes her son down the street.

Dangerous? Yes. Awesome-looking? Absolutely.

Don’t Try And Walk Around!

Picture of glasses
Photo: Alfred Eisenstaedt/The Life Picture Collection/Getty Images
Photo: Alfred Eisenstaedt/The Life Picture Collection/Getty Images

Long before the Oculus or other virtual reality gadgets, writer and inventor Hugo Gernsback was busy making his own version of television glasses.

His “teleyeglasses” were released in 1963, and while they may not be all that practical, we’re sure people wanted a pair of their own.

“Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads”

Picture of bike
lifeonaut/Imgur
lifeonaut/Imgur

While there’s never a shortage of people riding their bikes on the roads, it’s pretty rare ever to see anyone riding one on the water.

However, in 1932, the Cyclomer was introduced as the world’s first amphibious bike. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work as well as people hoped.

The More Books, The Better

Picture of bookwheel
Blackenix737/Reddit
Blackenix737/Reddit

Although we have the world at our fingertips today, in the past, researchers relied on books. Crazy, right?

This is a picture of a book wheel that first appeared in the 16th century and allowed the user to sort through multiple books while sitting in one place.

Tunes On The Go

Picture of a radio pram
KEYSTONE-FRANCE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
KEYSTONE-FRANCE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

It’s rare today to see people doing many activities outside without listening to music, podcasts, or whatever else interests them.

Well, a love for music on the go is nothing new. This is a radio pram that allowed the child and the walker to listen as they went along their business.

Horizontal Reading

Picture of glasses
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

To be honest, there are few things worse than reading on your back and having to hold the book above your face. Not only is it tiresome, but you risk the chance of dropping it on you!

Luckily, developed in 1936, Hamblin Glasses have you covered.

Keeping Warm

Picture of jacket
Dan Goshtigian/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Dan Goshtigian/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Despite all of the incredible technology that we have, it’s unlikely you’ll see someone wearing an electric jacket. This is most likely because of all of the dangers involved.

That wasn’t always the case, as this is a Red Sox player wearing an electrically heated jacket to stay warm. We hope it doesn’t rain!

Fresh AIr

Picture of baby
Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

These days, parents can be so uptight that they won’t even take their babies outside if the UV index is too high.

That certainly wasn’t the case in the past, with parents not even having an issue with putting their babies in cages overhanging the street!

Keeping The Rhythm

Picture of dancing shoes
Howard Owens/BIPs/Getty Images
Howard Owens/BIPs/Getty Images

Back in the day, if you had an issue keeping time with your partner, you could always get your hands on a pair of Siamese dancing shoes.

This product was designed specifically for ballroom dancing, and we’re sure resulted in countless spills on the dance floor.

Keeping The Pedestrians Safe

Picture of a rubber bumper
Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Apparently, early in the 20th century, it was a dangerous time to be a pedestrian, with tens of thousands of people dying from being hit by cars.

This gave A.J. Grafham the idea to make a rubber bumper that would hopefully lessen the blow if someone was hit by a car.

Who Needs A Shave?

Picture of a shave
Ken Howard/BIPs/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Ken Howard/BIPs/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Would you trust a machine to use a razor on your face? We didn’t think so, even with today’s technology.

Apparently, people were once enticed by the idea of shaving multiple men at once by using a machine. We wonder how many mistakes were made.

Over-The-Top

Picture of Spaghetti
Evans/Three Lions/Getty Images
Evans/Three Lions/Getty Images

If you’ve ever thought that eating spaghetti or any other kind of pasta was just too much effort, this is the invention for you.

Created by Russell E. Oakes, this device makes spinning pasta on your fork that much easier. It’s clear why it never caught on.

Calculate Away!

Picture of a calculator
SSPL/Getty Images
SSPL/Getty Images

Try to think about the last time that you used an actual calculator. Hard, right? Well, technology has come a long way, because here is a picture of just part of the Difference Engine.

It is one of the earliest automatic calculators that was created by Charles Babbage in 1832.

Flashy Timepiece

Picture of a watch
DeAgostini/Getty Images
DeAgostini/Getty Images

While most people only wear watches for style purposes in these times, not too long ago, people used watches of all kinds to keep the time, with pocket watches being of particular popularity.

This is a watch from Italy in the 17th century that’s made out of one jewel. Whoever owned this was clearly important.

Not Today, Thief

Picture of case
Fred Mott/Evening Standard/Getty Images
Fred Mott/Evening Standard/Getty Images

For those who are always afraid that someone is going to run up and steal your briefcase, the Anti-Bandit Bag is the answer.

Invented by John H. Rinfret, if someone is trying to steal your case, the user can release all of the contents out of the bottom. Actually, this is kind of smart.

Cruise The Streets In Style

Picture of tires
Douglas Miller/Keystone/Getty Images
Douglas Miller/Keystone/Getty Images

In a time when people wanted to have their cars to have as much flair as possible, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. introduced illuminated tires in the 1950s.

These tires were built with 18 internal lightbulbs but turned out to be too expensive to be released on a large scale.

Impervious To Rain

Picture of goggles
Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

During the 1930s, windshield wipers weren’t the only thing that drivers had at their disposal to prevent blurred vision on the road.

If they wanted, they could also wear a pair of these sweet rain goggles. It makes you wonder how many people actually used them.

Vibrate The Weight Away

Picture of weight machine
H. F. Davis/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
H. F. Davis/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

People hit the gym during all hours of the day to get rid of their extra weight. But in the 1920s, people did something a little different.

They could strap themselves onto this device, which would vibrate to supposedly shake away any unwanted fat. We’re pretty sure we’ve seen an infomercial for something like this.

Coming Through!

Picture of a pramobile
Underwood Archives/Getty Images
Underwood Archives/Getty Images

With bicycles totally common in daily life, in the 1920s, Dunckley came up with the idea to make a Pramobile.

This transportation device could reach a speed of 15 miles per hour! We have to admit, it does look a little bit bulky.

Watch The Butter

Picture of butter
Evans/Three Lions/Getty Images
Evans/Three Lions/Getty Images

We doubt few people have ever had this problem, but inventor Russell E. Oakes certainly did!

Apparently, he was constantly dipping his wrist into the butter at the dinner table, so in 1955 he invented this device to prevent just that.

Say Goodbye To Shin Splints

Picture of shoes
adoc-photos/Corbis via Getty Images
adoc-photos/Corbis via Getty Images

Back when women essentially wore heels at all times of the day, it’s no surprise that their feet would begin to hurt.

In 1930, an inventor introduced spring shoes to help absorb the shock of walking on the user’s feet. It probably took some practice to get used to!