17 Strange Inventions That Never Caught On (For Obvious Reasons)

RealClear Staff


You've heard that necessity is the mother of invention. So where does pure lunacy fit in? One thing these daffy brainstorms prove is that mankind will never stop trying.

1. Jet Packs

Jet packs were invented by the U.S. Army in the 1960s, were featured in the 1965 James Bond film "Thunderball" and in "The Jetsons." There was a time when everyone thought we'd be traveling to school or work by jet pack. Probably a good thing it didn't happen, even though the technology has gotten better.

2. Whisky Vending Machine

In the "Mad Men" world of the 1950s, there was an alternative to the water cooler in some offices! Drinking at the office became frowned upon soon after, until start-ups brought the alcohol back to business hours.

3. Bald Head Polishers

This just looks too awkward and cumbersome. No wonder it failed.

4. Rocket-Propelled Bicycles

Wow, what a bad idea. Why not just buy a motor scooter?

5. TV Goggles

This couldn't have been healthy for your eyes ...

6. The Electric Car

Hey, wait ... you mean the technology has existed for decades? If this had caught on instead of fossil fuels in the 1920s, think where we'd be now. The Tesla would be old hat.

7. Glow-in-the-Dark Tires

Hey, this looks kinda cool! I'd buy these .... and if you get a flat at night, at least you can see.

8. Baby Seats, Early Version


9. Pipes for 2

This seems more like a party gag invention. Talk about a double-dose of second-hand smoke!

10. The Chain Smoker

Another smoking gag gift -- and we do mean gag!

11. See-Through Boats

Guess it would be hard to keep from getting dirty, but this actually looks like fun. Think of the marine life you might observe.

12. Propeller-Powered Soup-Cooling Spoons

Dude, are you too lazy to just blow on it?

13. Electric-Powered Spaghetti Twirler

Now if it could also cool soup, then you'd have something ...

14. Suntan Chair

A nice, functional adaptation of the massage table, so you can read while sunning your back. Should have caught on.

15. The Motorwheel

Uh, no.

16. Dashboard Coffee Makers

Interesting. We like it. But useless now with the invention of the Thermos.

17. Side-View Mirrors for the '60s Mod Set

Hey Daddy-O, this looks just stupid! Fella, it's better to look ahead than to dwell on what's behind you.



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