30 Dumb Inventions from Life Magazine

I thoroughly enjoyed this gallery, especially the TV glasses and the illuminated tires.

Want to test how well you know this site? How many of the inventions in this list have I posted here in the past?

14 comments
  1. Charlene says: October 14, 20091:28 pm

    Welcome back! How’s Portland?

  2. William Deering says: October 14, 20094:27 pm

    I think you have posted about half of them in one form or another; 15 I’m guessing?

  3. Charlie says: October 14, 20096:18 pm

    Charlene: Portland is great, though I’m still trying to find a place. My friend is a very gracious host, but still I’m looking forward to actually having a home again.

    Will: I counted 12 I’m sure I have and another 3 or 4 I think I do.

  4. Toronto says: October 14, 200910:05 pm

    That’s a nice shot of Sir Clive “small things” Sinclair.

  5. Wafflenebbleweffer says: October 15, 200912:42 am

    You might want to check how many of these things are being marketed currently or lead to later inventions. Portable saunas are still marketed, throat mikes were used by pilots in WWII; the bent barrel machine gun http://collections.iwm…. had it’s design reasons, the tiny tv isn’t much different than an iPod with video but was limited by the tech of the day; Karaoke machines in Japan give you a numerical rating for your performance. Yodeling was popular in the 1920’s to 1940’s so a yodel meter isn’t a surprise other than that they could measure it at all.
    Some of them are obviously joke items, especially the cigarette items or outright frauds. Others were tests to see if a technology was valid. Some of the UAVs marketed today work like that flying platform in the gallery. http://www.timboucher.c…

    People currently are selling jet packs for sport http://www.jetpackinter…

    The strapless bra isn’t any stranger than edible underwear. It just needs double sided adhesive tape and the same kind of trust that allows women to wear tube tops.

    I’m not saying there’s a valid market for every invention. But if millions of Petrocks were sold http://en.wikipedia.org… then dumb isn’t necessarily true.

  6. Firebrand38 says: October 15, 20095:22 pm

    There was a valid reason for testing it as a weapon for armored crewmen (not necessarily just for shooting around corners) http://www.rediscov.com…,,

    And by the way, it fired pistol ammo. That makes it a submachine gun.

  7. Toronto says: October 15, 20099:51 pm

    Wait – the submachine gun was “Manufactured by Guide Lamp Division of GM, Dayton, Oh.”

    *THAT* GM? I never realized they made weapons smaller than Geo Metros. And “Guide Lamp Division” – good choice. A gun like that would make an excellent addition to your turn signals when you really really need to cut into a lane.

  8. Firebrand38 says: October 15, 200911:32 pm

    Toronto: Yeah, that GM! That’s nothing! Back in the day I used to train on 4.2″ mortars that had been manufactured by the Whirlpool Corporation.

    See if you recognize any of the these names, they manufactured M-1 carbines during WW2:
    Rock-Ola Music Corporation (ROCK-OLA)
    Standard Products (STANDARD PRODUCTS)
    International Business Machines (IBM)
    Quality Hardware (QUALITY HARDWARE)
    National Postal Meter (NATIONAL POSTER METER)
    Saginaw (SAGINAW DIVISION,GENERAL MOTORS)S.G.
    Saginaw (Grand Rapids) S’G’
    Underwood-Elliot-Fisher (UNDERWOOD)
    Winchester (WINCHESTER)
    Inland (INLAND DIVISION, GENERAL MOTORS)

    Source: http://home.att.net/~ra…

  9. Randy says: October 16, 20093:46 pm

    Heck, Fisher Body Division of General Motors designed and built a whole experimental fighter plane, the P-75: http://en.wikipedia.org…

    And General Motors was a contract manufacturer of fighters and dive bombers for the Navy during WWII too: http://www.history.navy…

  10. John M. Hanna says: October 17, 20093:00 pm

    That third picture. Is that L. Ron Hubbard trying to read the Thetan levels in a tomato?

    I knew that guy was crazy, but damn!

  11. William Deering says: October 17, 20097:42 pm

    John,
    It is Hubbard. Click on Charlie’s word “gallery” that is slightly high-lighted on his intro: “I thoroughly enjoyed this gallery . . .” and navigate to see the discription of all 30 pictures.

  12. Wayne says: October 18, 20096:04 pm

    Number 18 has the comment “British inventor Clive Sinclair shows off his mini television.” Anyone know if that’s the same Sinclair that brought us the Sinclair computer.

    It then continues “Please note the thickness of his glasses.” to tear down his accomplishment without seeing the irony of the resemblance of the mini TV and the iPod video. This was actually a pretty cool invention.

  13. Jari says: October 18, 20096:31 pm

    Yes, that’s the very same Sir Clive Sinclair, who brought you one of the early flatscreen televisions, some hifi stuff, some cool looking calculators, led watches, ZX-80 and it’s successors and Sinlair C-5 electric vehicle. Remarkable man when you think, what he tried to achieve during 80′s and beyond.

  14. xritl says: October 19, 20091:42 am

    A more civilized time, when a man would never think of demonstrating “sea shoes” or a motorized surfboard without wearing a suit and tie. Only one of them has a hat on, though.

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