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Without inventions, we wouldn’t have many of the modern luxuries we have today. But not all inventions are major wins like cellphones, stoplights, or washing machines. Many more are in the category of absurd inventions that fell short of success.
1. Baby Window Cage
In the 1930s, doctors suggested that infants needed to get fresh air to boost their immune systems. So what did inventors come up with for city-bound mothers and nannies? The urban baby window cage.
Because there is no way that I’m putting my infant in a metal cage hooked onto a fifth-floor apartment window could go terribly wrong. I think I’ll just take the baby out for a walk instead.
2. Google Glass
In 2012, Google came up with Google Glasses that would see everything you see. They were supposed to revolutionize how people complete tasks and view content hands-free.
That sounds like a great idea until you consider maintaining any type of privacy, safety, or sense of style.
Another major drawback was the $1,500 price tag which made it less accessible to the average consumer. It didn’t help that these were banned from casinos, movie theaters, and driving.
3. Neck Brush
What seems like a medieval torture device for children was actually meant to clean a child’s neck without the use of soap and water.
A mother actually suggested this strange invention to Los Angeles Brush Corp in the 1950s. This bristled collar was supposed to scrub her child’s neck clean while he played. Yikes!
4. Ostrich Pillow
So you want to catch a nap in public, but also want to look like an octopus alien? Get an Ostrich Napping Pillow! Just slip it over your head when you feel a nap attack coming on at work, the airport, or the library.
There are built-in holes for ventilation and you can even put your hands in for extra comfort. Perhaps this one was just too weird for people to flock to.
5. Pedal-less Bike
The Fliz pedal-less bicycle effectively turns you into Fred Flinstone. The cycle consists of a five-point harness where you’ll hang from the carbon fiber frame and use your feet to scoot about.
It’s only designed for people around six feet tall and likely didn’t take off because it doesn’t improve upon bicycles. If you thought going uphill on a normal bike was difficult, I’m sure it would be absolutely unbearable on this contraption.
6. Anti-Bandit Briefcase
If a robber tries to take your briefcase with all of your valuables inside, this 1960s Anti-Bandit Briefcase was designed with a trigger to release the contents of the bag to deter the thief.
But doesn’t dumping out the contents of your bag give the thief exactly what they want? Plus you’ll be picking up your belongings from the street.
7. Stereo Sound Vest
If you hate the type of person who walks through public spaces with their phone on speaker, then you’d probably hate the guy who invented this.
The stereo vest was an invention from 1985 that circumvented not being able to wear headphones on a motorcycle.
It runs off of the vehicle’s battery and isn’t exactly practical when you’re more concerned about warmth or sufficient safety padding.
8. Colgate Frozen Meals
When you think of toothpaste, do you think of delicious frozen lasagne? I didn’t think so. That’s likely why Colgate’s line of frozen meals flopped when introduced in the 1980s. Customers may have thought the lasagna would taste like their minty toothpaste.
A replica of their foray into frozen entrees is now housed in the Museum of Failures in Sweden.
9. The Hula Chair
In 2007, The Hawaii Chair introduced itself in a ridiculous infomercial that marketed it as an exercise solution for people with desk jobs.
However, trying to do anything for work while your hips are being swung around just adds an unnecessary level of difficulty. Plus you’d look insane trying to have a serious conversation with a coworker while the chair makes it look like you really have to use the restroom.
10. Skarp Laser Razor
If you’ve ever gotten razor bumps or a cut from shaving, you’d probably want to invest in a painless razer that zaps hair right off your body.
That’s probably why the Kickstarter to fund the Skarp Laser Razor had over 20,000 contributors and more than $4 million in funding.
After years of development, Skarp’s razors were less effective than regular razors. So Kickstarter suspended their campaign for not having a working prototype.
11. Twitter Peek
If you love Twitter a little too much, you may have considered getting a Twitter Peek when it was released in 2009. The Peek was a $100 device that only let you read and send tweets. That’s it.
No email. No texting. No internet browsing. To use it, you’d have to pay $8 a month or $200 for lifetime access. The cherry on top was how defective it was as mentioned in this CNET review.
In 2013, a startup company collected $120 million in funding to create the Juicero. This $400 machine used pre-made packets of produce to make cold-pressed juices from home.
All the machine really did was squeeze the juice out of the packet. A task that many filmed themselves doing by hand while mocking the Silicon Valley start-up.
13. Triton Artificial Gills
An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign called Triton promised-backers the ability to breathe underwater with their artificial gills. Skeptical backers questioned the science behind it and uncovered that the claims weren’t true.
There’s no doubt that the concept was cool and inspired people to live out their dreams of being Aquaman. However, the dream they were sold just wasn’t true. Indiegogo forced the company to repay the $900,000 it got from its supporters.
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Seychelle is a Maryland-based personal finance writer and business owner. She’s passionate about helping others out of financial pitfalls she’s already dug herself out of. Most of her finance knowledge stems from her career as a Financial Consultant and Branch Manager at the 7th largest US bank. Read more of her work on credit, budgeting, debt consolidation, and entrepreneurship at www.seychellewrites.com