20 Of The Craziest and Stupidest Modern Inventions!

By Teresa Thomerson in Bizarre On 12th July 2015


The cigarette holder for two: for when you really want to share your lung cancer with the one you love.


In the 50s, everyone smoked. In fact, they couldn't smoke fast enough if this cigarette pack holder is any indication. Did the inventor of this fine contraption not know that excess nicotine causes violent vomiting, dizziness and severe headache?

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M. W. Hulton's invention included poles to help the rider with balance. The duckfoot propellers on the back of these Sea Shoes helped the well-dressed man traverse all of the pesky ponds between home and work.


Honey is a well-loved folk remedy and has been for centuries. Vinegar is also used often to treat various conditions. But mixing the two together resulted in Honegar, which we can't imagine even trying to stomach.

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An example of superb 1930s parenting: a baby carrier suspended between two parents. It seems slightly risky, but not like the most dangerous thing everuntil you realize that the parents in question are ice skating.


Humans in the 1930s had a much higher infant mortality rate than the one we experience today, and we think we've found the reason: inventions like this insane baby cage that suspends your precious bundle of joy out of the window, high above the very hard pavement below.


Back in 1948, there was apparently nothing weird about riding across a lake on a motorized surfboard while wearing a nice suit and bowler hat and smoking a cigarette. Forget his lack of safety gear inventor Joe Gilpin looks cool gliding along on the water.


Smoking may be passé today, but in 1931 it was just a normal part of life. As such, it was fraught with dangers like cigarettes that got soggy in the rain. A circus clown came up with this crazy/brilliant solution: a tiny umbrella at the end of a cigarette holder that let smokers puff away without fear of the weather.


Built in 1964, back when we as a society seemed to share a collective fascination with robots that would do our household chores, this phone-answering robot was not nearly as functional as it might look at first. Its abilities were limited to picking up the phoneand putting the phone back down. It couldn't act as a message recorder or even a message player, but it sure did look cool.


Although most of us choose to travel on two or four wheels, some inventors have been pushing for us to adopt a single-wheel vehicle since as far back as 1869 when the first monowheel appeared. Of course, with other forms of transport being safer, quieter, and easier to pilot, it doesn't appear that the monowheel will be breaking into the mainstream anytime soon.


The Robot Readamatic, invented in 1963, was meant to help slow readers improve their pace by revealing one line of text at a time. The arm would move at a pace set by the user to help him or her stay focused on the reading. Oddly, the device looks like it should be the other way around so that the big supporting arm doesn't get in the way. We have to wonder if that bizarrely obvious design flaw had anything to do with the fact that the Robot Readamatic was never widely adopted.


Although the woman with the plastic bag over her head looks exceedingly worried, and the other woman looks a bit like a wicked witch, this isn't actually a picture of a crime taking place. The plastic helmet and the attached hose are allegedly a beauty treatment from 1941 involving a vacuum. How the victimer, customerbreathes while encased in an air-free plastic hood is anyone's guess.


In the 1930s, the world wasn't quite so politically correct as it is today. If a group of people gathered together to protest, for example, the police could mow them down with a humongous fortified vehicle complete with poisonous gas streams. This hulking machine was patented in 1938 but (thank goodness) never built. Perhaps cooler heads prevailed once the powers that be thought long and hard about the implications.


The demise of this strange-looking contraption was a combination of poor timing and a lack of foresight by its makers. Poor timing because it came out in the 1980s just before cassette players and Walkmen would corner the marketlack of foresight because, come on, a record player that you carry around with you? Anyone who has ever used a record player could tell you what a terrible idea that is.


Before military planes were robust enough to carry tanks to their destinations, military bigwigs had a brilliant idea: put wings on the tanks. They could be towed directly to the battle zone and easily flown to exactly the right spot. Although initial tests were successful, the winged tanks never made it into popular use. Better planes were developed first and are still used today to air drop tanks at their destinations.


Pull in to the local gas station and every pump has something in common. "Unleaded" is the new craze. For nearly six decades, gasoline companies ignored the known dangers associated with lead to get rich. Tetraethyl lead boosted the octane levels in auto fuel, but there was speculation surrounding the safety of that decision from Day One. In the Nov. 10, 1924, issue of TIME, a report showed that 35 men at the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey had come down with an "occupational disease." Symptoms ranged from insomnia to low blood pressure, all at the hands of lead poisoning. The EPA completed a full phaseout of lead gasoline in 1986, ending the quest to trade steady health for steady sales.


Few everyday offerings fall into the realm of free. E-mail accounts still make that list. But as with any freebie, there are associated costs. One of the most substantial stigmas attached to virtual mailboxes is spam e-mail. Within one folder of utter clutter exists unsolicited messages delivered to thousands of addresses. Those not smart enough to read the warning signs might befriend the fictitious Alan Lutz of twistedtails.com, offering a chance at a low mortgage rate "Because you deserve it!" Without the right protective programs in place, that decision may drastically affect the average computer's shelf life. And for those who are wise enough to ignore the jungle of junk, the process adds Web traffic to only one obsequious computer key the delete button.


Forget 3-D what audiences really want is to smell a movie. So went the thinking of Mike Todd Jr., who in 1960 funded the ill-fated Smell-o-Vision gimmick, an elaborate system that allowed a film reel to trigger the release of bottled scents that were piped to the audience in sync with pivotal moments in the movie. The only film to make use of Smell-o-Vision was 1960's Scent of Mystery, written specifically with the gimmick in mind. The results, predictably, stunk, and Smell-o-Vision was never used again.


Be happy, or else. In 2009, employees of Japan's Keihin Electric Express Railway started facing morning smile checks, in which they were subjected to software that analyzed their facial expression to produce a rating of their smile on a scale of zero to 100. Not dumb enough? They also had to carry around images of their "ideal smile," as something to aspire to throughout the course of the day. :(


Coke calls it the world's first "vibrancy drink." That's a really, really lame euphemism to get around the fact that Vio is carbonated flavored milk. The beverage giant rolled out bottles of the stuff in 2009 to test markets including New York. Shockingly, it failed to find broad appeal (although Coke is still producing it in limited quantities).