Hundreds of thousands of patents are issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for new inventions every year. Some of these creations, such as the light bulb, the personal computer, and the automobile, changed the world. Others have made everyday life a little easier and potentially more fun: just look at your smartphone or the cat scratch toy that looks like a DJ turntable. And some inventions are for things that people never realized they needed, but now desperately want. Who wouldn’t want a high-tech clothes folder or one breathalyzer powered app who helps you avoid overspending when you’ve had too much?
But despite the countless number of interesting, useful, and even groundbreaking inventions on the market, many other bizarre creations in history have barely gone beyond their initial prototypes. Perhaps they were ahead of their time, impractical or simply confusing to use. However, although they have not stood the test of time, they serve as a relic of their time. Strange creations of yesteryear can give people a sense of the culture of previous generations and the problems their astute inventors were trying to solve. Who knew people had such a hard time picking up spaghetti out of a bowl that someone imagined a spinning fork? This may be a testament to the confusion Americans may have had about foreign cuisines and their determination to enjoy these tasty new foods.
Rather than let these designs be lost in time, Stacker compiled a list of 30 bizarre inventions from all history using archival Getty photos. These black and white images are not only revealing, they are a fascinating look at creations you might never have imagined. Plus, they’re a really fun trip down memory lane.
Click to see some of the most obscure and creative inventions in history.
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