There have been many incredible inventions over the years. Some of the greatest scientific, philosophical, and medical minds of the entirety of history have created fantastic things. Whether it was the invention of the wheel, or the industrial revolution, society has progressed thanks to the inventions of ordinary people who had that incredible combination of innovation and outside the box thinking.
But then on the other end of the scale, we’ve got the inventions which are just odd. You know, those things which don’t seem to fulfill a particular need that’s prevalent, and instead just cater to an odd, niche part of the world. A lot like the strangest bets ever made in history, these are just some of the most downright odd choices.
Chain Smoking Device
You have probably heard of the expression chain-smoker, as a term given to someone who smokes large quantities of cigarettes every day, often one after the other in rapid succession. But you probably haven’t seen the chain-smoking device before, and that’s because it’s just weird. It’s a device that allows you to smoke up to 12 cigarettes at once, by feeding all the smoke down the singular pipe, with branching holders for all of your cigarettes.
You might question exactly how something like this would work, and the answer is badly. It doesn’t really work in the conventional sense, because you don’t have the lung capacity. Plus, it’s a very expensive way to smoke, and would no doubt put you on a crash course for lung cancer after about a week.
1936 was an interesting time. The prospect of World War II was looming on the horizon, and there was a sense of innovation which was in part fuelled by a growing sense of anxiety about the future, and in part by a need to progress society forward, there were a lot of interesting inventions during the 1930s, but the all-terrain car was probably not one of them.
Designed to allow the user to literally descend down 65° slopes or navigate almost any terrain, this hulking, large, hideously unbalanced vehicle had many wheels on it, and didn’t take off. Some can take the view that it is the precursor to something like a Land Rover, which is built for all-terrain in a better sense with four-wheel-drive, but this was just odd.
In 1939, some interesting minds from Canada set out to solve one of the main problems that inhabitants faced during many months of the year. Obviously, Canada is a much colder climate, and is prone to blizzards and snowstorms.
So, the solution here was to create snow protectors. This took the form of a very long plastic cone which sat on the face, must like a beak, and would theoretically protect your face from blizzards. Obviously, things like ski goggles and scarves were not quite so widespread at the time, so people had to improvise. Suffice it to say, this really didn’t gain as much traction as the inventor hoped. When was the last time you saw someone outside wearing a beak?
Prior to the creation of coal powered vehicles like the train, people came up with more inventive ways to make use of railways. This particular device originated in Italy in 1850, and was designed to allow people the ability to use animals to travel on railways.
This particular device was a unique take on, what is in essence, a giant treadmill. The animals walked on the treadmill, that would then power the machine, and then propulsion would be achieved. However, it didn’t really take off in the way that people wanted, and to be honest it’s just a bit strange. Why not just use a horse drawn carriage?
This is one of those things that you really don’t think people would ever take the time and effort to create, but someone did. What you had, essentially, was a revolver, which looked pretty much identical to the real thing in terms of size and shape, with one distinct difference. It has a camera mounted onto it, and every time you pull the trigger, it takes a photo.
Why was this a good idea? We have no idea. It just seems hideously impractical, a way to terrify people, and sort of the fastest way to get yourself arrested for being in possession of a firearm in modern society. Thankfully, this was phased out quite soon after it was invented, because otherwise it could’ve caused a couple of problems in the photography industry.