Archive
Useless Tech
Elaborate Mechanism Works and Works to Do Nothing Well (Feb, 1954)

Elaborate Mechanism Works and Works to Do Nothing Well

We all know someone who works harder doing nothing than most of us work doing something, but we can’t possibly know anything that works harder at nothing than a machine built by a California hobbyist. The machine has over 700 working parts that rotate, twist, oscillate and reciprocate—all for no purpose except movement. It is the brainstorm of Lawrence Wahlstrom, a landscape artist, who calls it a flying-saucer detector. The machine not only accomplishes nothing, it is never completed—it has been under construction seven years. Each year Wahlstrom adds 50 or more moving parts to it so it can do nothing more efficiently!

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GUESSER GETS WEATHER RIGHT (Feb, 1932)

So, basically they are saying that long term weather prediction methodology is so bad that randomly guessing works better?

GUESSER GETS WEATHER RIGHT
While day-to-day weather forecasting enjoys reasonable accuracy, meteorologists have still to work out a basis for long-range prophecies. Nevertheless, Dr. C. F. Marvin, head of the U. S. Weather Bureau, is experimenting with a “scientific guesser.” Small balls are marked for a certain kind of weather. The balls are thoroughly mixed and poured into troughs. Their sequence, depending solely upon laws of chance, has proved strikingly similar to actual weather records.

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Tiny Grand Piano Can Be Played with a Toothpick (Dec, 1940)

Tiny Grand Piano Can Be Played with a Toothpick

FOUR craftsmen took six months to build a two-inch-square working model of a Steinway grand piano, illustrated at right. Played with a toothpick, it has thirty-six ivory keys and is strung like a full-size instrument. With other objects in the photo —miniature enamel furniture, and a dancing girl’s toe bell from Bombay, India, displayed on a finger —it forms part of a private collection of 28,500 curios from fifty-four countries exhibited recently in San Francisco.

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Corridor Traffic Light (Jan, 1948)

If the instruments are so delicate, why doesn’t she use a cart instead of carrying them all piled up like that. Plus the traffic light doesn’t do you a whole lot of good if you can’t see it because, uh, you’re carrrying a pile of delicate instruments.

Corridor Traffic Light
Wartime’s proximity fuse is regulating hallway traffic at General Electric’s Schenectady research laboratory. Above, the girl at left has been “picked up” by a microwave transmitting-receiving unit (A), operating traffic light (B). The girl at right, carrying delicate instruments, is warned by a red light that the corridor is not clear.

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Cigarette Case Keeps Account of Smokes Given to Friends (Sep, 1940)

Cheap bastard.

Cigarette Case Keeps Account of Smokes Given to Friends
A novel cigarette case keeps tabs on the cigarettes your friends “borrow.” When you want a smoke yourself, press one button to open the case. But when an acquaintance “bums” a cigarette, press a second button. This not only opens the case but operates a counter built into the case.

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Robot Messenger Displays Person-to-Person Notes In Public (Aug, 1935)

In the mid ’30s everything was a robot.

Robot Messenger Displays Person-to-Person Notes In Public
TO AID persons who wish to make or cancel appointments or inform friends of their whereabouts, a robot message carrier has been introduced in London, England.
Known as the “notificator,” the new machine is installed in streets, stores, railroad stations or other public places where individuals may leave messages for friends.
The user walks up on a small platform in front of the machine, writes a brief message on a continuous strip of paper and drops a coin in the slot. The inscription moves up behind a glass panel where it remains in public view for at least two hours so that the person for whom it is intended may have sufficient time to observe the note at the appointed place. The machine is similar in appearance to a candy-vending device.

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Breathing Balloon for Big Breasts (Sep, 1949)

Or I guess I should say “developing your form”. You know, if that’s what you want.

Breathing Balloon
will develop your form, if that’s what you want. It’ll also train you to breathe deeply by measuring your lung capacity by means of the shut-off valve. Moore’s, 14548 Forrer Ave., Detroit, Michigan.

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METALLIZED BABY SHOES (Jun, 1949)

LET ME PUT YOU IN A BIG PAY BUSINESS OF YOUR OWN!
AT HOME – FULL OR SPARE TIME
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$5.00 PER HOUR IS EASY

Metallized baby shoes offer you the chance of a lifetime to be independent. The chance to be your own boss. Make up to $5.00 per hour FOR YOUR SPARE TIME. Yes — you can easily average $5.00 an hour and more working only spare time — think what this can amount to working full time or with the whole family helping! Think of all the comforts and happiness this EXTRA INCOME will give you and your loved ones.

19,000,000 CUSTOMERS WAITING!
Yes – there’s that many customers waiting right now for you to take their orders — get in on the opportunity of your lifetime. Let me show YOU how my plan permits YOU TO MAKE MONEY IMMEDIATELY.

NO ADDITIONAL INVESTMENT REQUIRED

Yes! Profits can start without additional investment. NO OTHER COMPANY has a plan like this — mine is the original “go in business on a shoe string” success plan. READ THE FACTS – it doesn’t cost you a cent to investigate my wonderful plan — IT’S ABSOLUTELY FREE-it doesn’t cost you anything NOW or EVER!

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Inflatable Shorts (Aug, 1971)

Here’s the easy, effective way to trim down waist, abdomen, hips, thighs!

New Inflatable Air Shorts provide pneumatic support plus massage to help you slenderize where you need it most!

This may well be the easiest, most comfortable trim-down method you’ve ever tried. All you do is slip into these astounding new slenderizing shorts and inflate them with the little hand pump we provide. Then merely do a few simple exercises, housework or any usual daily activity. What happens after that is likely to amaze you. The puffy, snug-fitting pockets of air which surround you actually work to provide gentle pneumatic support plus effective massage while they generate additional body heat.

Guaranteed Results!

You’ll notice the improvement almost immediately in four vital areas. Yes, we guarantee it! Your Inflatable Air Shorts must help you trim down your waist, abdomen, hips and thighs . . . must help you look slimmer and younger, faster than you’d believe possible — or your purchase price refunded without question!
Save $3.00! Send Now!

Take advantage of this unusual no-risk opportunity. Inflatable Air Shorts were originally sold at $9.99. Our direct-by-mail price is only $6.99. (You save $3.00!) One size fits both men and women.
Send coupon today!

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Soldiers Wear Camouflage (Jul, 1939)

That is some pretty amazing camouflage there. Why, I almost mistook them for trees. Trees with binoculars and handguns….

Soldiers Wear Camouflage
The men in the above picture are not inhavitants of Mars. They are only British soldiers, wearing camouflage in their helmets during a mimic battle.

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