Vintage inventions that didn’t catch on

Innovation is an American pastime. You can take an idea that’s in your head, create it and market it to the masses for five easy payments of $19.95.

Although, some inventors have brought us the combustible engine, electricity and telephones, we’re here to salute those sad few that didn’t quite make the cut in the history books.

The Snowstorm Mask was developed in 1939 in Montreal, to protect the faces of the citizens when snowstorms hit. The invention makes the wearer look like one of the characters in “Spy vs. Spy.” For girls concerned about any water messing up their makeup for this year’s homecoming festivities, this invention may have been helpful.

Rather than be beaten by a shortage of silk for silk stockings in 1941, an inventor spun fine, copper mesh that was connected to miniature batteries and coils hidden in the shoe. The connection was secured with garter snaps which connected to a circuit of wires that were concealed in a girdle.

It was deemed as the “Shocking Stocking,” because it was made to release a voltage shock that would repel mice, which were evidently a problem in the ’40s.

For girls who are going to don pantyhose and stockings with their dress, be grateful that this invention never made it into production.

Before the invention of noise-canceling headphones, a man by the name of Hugo Gernsback developed a machine called the “Isolator.” Outside noises were eliminated by putting a dome-shaped contraption on your head. Worried about suffocation?  It came with its own oxygen tank, allowing for hours of uninterrupted studying.

In 1922 the baby cage was invented. This was for urban mothers and nannies to help keep the baby from getting underfoot. The cage was fastened outside the window and the child was placed in the suspended cage. When mothers tell their children that they could use some fresh air, I doubt this is what they had in mind.

In 1912 a German man by the name of Reichelt developed the parachute jacket. Reichelt felt so confident in the unveiling of his invention that he wore it for the first jump from the Eiffel Tower. The parachute failed to deploy and Reichelt died.

Venetian-blind sunglasses are not a new fashion trend. They were originally released in the 1950s, redesigned in the 1980s and brought back again in 2007. Certain fashion statements should probably stop getting resurrected every couple of years.

There are those science fiction buffs that are still waiting for hoverboards and flying cars to be invented. However, inventors in the 1940s had already successfully flown a car from California to Ohio. In 1973 a man by the name of Henry Smolinski attempted to make his own flying car by strapping wings and a tail to his Ford Pinto. The car eventually broke free during the test flight. The impact killed Smolinski and his passenger.

In 1960 an inventor by the name of Mike Todd Jr. funded the world’s first (and last) Smell-o-Vision. It allowed the film reel to trigger bottled scents to be released into the audience during the right moments of the movie. “Scent of Mystery,” which was written specifically for the Smell-o-Vision, was the only movie to ever utilize the invention.

Although, some of these inventions were not the best of ideas, the fact that people put themselves out there and gave it the old college try is something that should be admired.