What ever happened to the eccentric inventor type?

You know the sort, and don’t think of Doc Brown from Back To The Future. I’m talking about the wispy haired eccentric with a stained white coat, siting hunched over a workbench muttering to himself in the dark corner of a lab (or more likely a garage) from which the occasional plume of smoke or flashes of light emanate. Where is he? Where is that guy?

Back in the 50’s madcap inventors were everywhere; no idea was too silly, and no concept out of the question. Meanwhile, in 2009 there seems to be a lot less silliness in the world and I think that’s a shame.

So, in an attempt to bring a little bit of joy back to life, here are some of the best worst inventions from the golden age of innovation, shamelessly ripped from the pages of Life magazine. Thanks Life.

Rainy Day Cigarette Holder 1954

This handy gizmo lets you smoke all year round, come rain or shine. As long as you don’t mind getting a wet face this cigarette gazeebo is the must have gadget for you.

Cigarette Pack Holder 1955

But hang on!

You love smoking right? But aren’t you tired of smoking one cigarette at a time like a nobody? Now you can be a somebody with this, the Cigarette Pack Holder.

Designed for the modern girl on the go this elegant and affordable accessory allows you to suckle from Marlboro’s cancerous teet up to 20x faster than with one single cigarette. Yes, double, triple, and quadruple your pleasure with this time saving device.

Venetian Blind Sunglasses 1950

Ok, so now not only is Kanye a fish stick hating, speech interrupting, head up his own arse bastard, but he wasn’t even the first to wear those hateful shutter shades, which were invented 27 years before his birth. What a complete tool that man is!

Mini Television 1966

All across England millions of people watched us win the world cup on one of these miniature marvels.

Sea Shoes 1962

I think it’s a bit grand to call strapping two bits of polystyrene to your feet an ‘invention’, but M W Hulton was British so give him a break - he was a make-do-and-mend kind of chap.

The Motorised Surfboard 1948

In contrast, when you set an American the task of crossing a body of water in a full suit he tackles it very differently.

Please note the bowler hat, leather gloves, and casual cigarette.

Honegar 1959

Do you like honey? Do you like vinegar? Well then you’ll loath the obomanation against taste that is Honegar - the wonder remedy for aches and pains created by Dr. DeForest C. Jarvis.

I’m not sure what Dr Jarvis’ doctorate was in, maybe educing nausea?

Shower Hood 1970

I bet those of you slumming it with a regular shower cap are feeling pretty silly now, aren’t you?

Dog Restrainer 1940

Now I have to qualify some things about this invention.

Firstly, It only works with very well trained dogs. Secondly, if you apply too much pressure, which is very easy to do, it becomes less a dog restrainer and more a dog divider. You have been warned!

The Hubbard Electrometer 1968

Dreamed up by the founder of The Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, (so it has to work, right?) this handy peice of kit was developed to discover whether tomatoes experience pain.

Hubby’s  found that tomatoes scream when sliced, while radishes are stoic and don’t give you the satisfaction.

The Baby Cage 1937

Back in 1937 marketing and advertising weren’t the honed art it is today. If this product was designed today it would be called Barney’s Super Fun Kiddy Playhouse , but back in 1937 they called it The Baby Cage.

Illuminated Tires 1961

Last, but certainly not least, is my favourite of these madcap inventions.

What’s the worst thing about car tires? That they wear out? That they get punctures? Nope, It’s that they aren’t illuminated, of course. This oversight in the original design was corrected in 1961 when Goodyear brought out these babies. The illuminating effect was made by placing brightly lit bulbs inside the wheel rim - I see no problem with that.

Wouldn’t life be a lot more fun if you saw a set of these bad boys on the wheels of a Vauxhall Nova as it races around you local Tesco car park? I think so.

So… there are some ideas to get your brain working. Now go forth and invent. If you come up with any good ideas feel free to post them below, or take them on Dragon’s Den, it’s up to you.