Springbok Casino takes a look at some crazy inventions, from glowing tyres to cigarette umbrellas, that never took off.
From phones to flushing toilets to the Kreepy Krauly (perhaps South Africa’s greatest invention) creative minds have invented some remarkable devices. But every so often what sounds like a great idea can turn out to be completely useless. This month, Springbok Casino looks at ten inventions that may very well have saved lives or made life more convenient or fun — but just didn’t catch on with the public and are long forgotten.
“Some of these inventions were just ahead of their time,” laughed Springbok’s manager, Daniel van Wyke, “Some of them are just plain wacky!”
In the 50s, Goodyear developed a synthetic rubber called Neothane. It was semi-translucent and could be dyed in a range of bright colours. Brightly lit by lights in the wheel rims, tires made of it glowed. Although this sounds like a cool idea, the synthetic glowing rubber didn’t make very good tires after all, and Goodyear eventually gave up on them.
In 1939, Hugo Gernsback invented “teleyeglasses” — a small TV for each eye. They looked a bit like the virtual reality headsets that are now a big thing but, at the time, people weren’t keen on having little TVs on their faces.
One of the crazy inventions on the list is the Cigarette Umbrella — a cigarette holder with a small umbrella over it. The smoker could be drenched but the cigarette stayed dry. To no one’s surprise, it never took off.
Other Ill-fated Crazy Inventions
Other ill-fated inventions on Springbok’s feature page are the Highway WiFi (an under-dash record player in 1956 Chrysler cars), the Cyclomer (an amphibious bicycle) and Spray On Hair for bald men.
All Ten Inventions That Never Took Off can be found here: Inventions that never took off.
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