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30 Dumb (But Funny) Inventions

Scientist Jonathan Schattke is quoted as saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention, it is true, but its father is creativity, and knowledge is the midwife.” Fair enough, but what happens if the offspring came from the shallow end of the gene pool? LIFE magazine explores this as they count down 30 retro inventions that may have seemed like a good idea at the time but are really just plain terrible. Have a look at some of the after the jump.

Curved Barrel Machine Gun

The 20th century may have seen astounding technological innovations, but this was not one of them. This 1953 M3 sub-machine gun had an experimental curved barrel and used spherical bullets to shooting around corners.

Illuminated Tyres

In 1961, Goodyear created illuminated tyres made from a single piece of synthetic rubber that can be lit by bulbs mounted inside the wheel rim. Seen above, a woman makes an emergency stocking adjustment next to the illuminated tyre.


A 1929 invention, the Laryngaphone only transmits vibrations from the vocal chords when the microphone is placed against the throat or cheek. Sounds silly, is silly.

Shower Hood

For when you needed a clean body but a dirty face. Circa 1970.

Venetian Blind Sunglasses

Now Kanye, I’m really happy for you, and imma let you finish, but the 1950s had one of the best sunglasses of all time!

See the full gallery of dumb vintage inventions at LIFE.

[via Weird Universe]

4 replies on “30 Dumb (But Funny) Inventions”

funnily enough the ‘Laryngaphone’ concept is used by some spec-ops forces around the world, but they use it in the field, which by default makes it cool.

the shower hood has to be an april fools joke, just has to be