For those with highly creative minds (or just too much time on their hands), it can be fun to come up with wild hypothetical inventions - that is, inventions that never actually get made. People often have conversations based around the “Imagine if…” premise. Whether adult or child, we humans like to come up with new ideas, sometimes for real-world application but sometimes just because we can. After all, it feels good to use your imagination in dreaming up a concept before anyone else.
The Federation Captain in Star Trek VI says, “Let us redefine progress to mean that just because we can do a thing, it does not necessarily mean we must do that thing.” This quote, reminiscent of other warnings by historic figures, has often proved wise. Ever since the invention of the wheel, man made objects have come and gone; some that have changed the way we live irreversibly, and others that never should have been conceived of at all. 'New' Coke, for instance, was very short-lived, calling to mind another apt proverb: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Of a list of the 50 worst inventions in the world, compiled by TIME Magazine, we've chosen a top ten of real doozies, and have researched these madcap inventions for your reading enjoyment, amusement and - likely - bewilderment. Some are just plain silly; others were dangerous, and should never have come to fruition. Some will make you smile and others will make you shake your head in wonder. While reading, try and maintain enough faith in the progress of the human race to believe that no one will ever try to trump these ten worst inventions since the industrial age.
10 Hair in a Can
5 Olestra - 'Fat Free' Chips
4 Mizar Flying Car
3 Pay Toilets
2 Agent Orange
1 Baby Cage
In 1922 a patent was recorded in Washington by a woman named Emma Read for a literal cage meant to hold an infant (one per cage), which could be placed outside windows in high-rises and apartment buildings in general. The cage was designed “to be suspended upon the exterior of a building adjacent an open window, wherein the baby or young child may be placed…A great many difficulties rise in properly housing babies…in crowded cities…from the health viewpoint.” Mothers and nannies could then have unhampered floor space for cleaning and walking about, while baby got fresh air, multiple stories up. These cages were distributed to members of the Chelsea Baby Club in London, England, which seems to have been one of the few places where they were actually used.
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