19 Curious Inventions From The Past Show Us The Most Vintage And Extravagant Sides Of Technology

Nowadays, there are many technological objects that we take for granted and whose origin we do not question. Think of a simple traffic light, or a motorbike, or even a watch or a flat screen TV: these are all things that are part of our daily lives but which, to get to this point, have gone through the genius of many people who imagined them and made bizarre prototypes of them.

Genius and extravagance dominated these technological inventions: looking at them today simply makes us fascinated and sometimes even amused by their “quirks”, which were once nothing but futuristic. We wanted to collect some of these incredible testimonies below, with images capable of taking us back in time to discover the origins of current progress!

1.The first traffic light in New York, between Fifth Avenue and 34th Street: it was in 1922.


2.This is the “family bike” invented by Charles Steinlauf: an incredible bike that allowed the whole family to exercise outdoors, and it also had a built-in sewing machine!


3.English inventor WT Warren demonstrating in person the safety and durability of the aviator helmet he made.


4.Before radar was used in everyday life, there were these huge “horns” to detect any approaching enemy aircraft.


5.If you’re wondering what it is, it’s nothing more than a gas buggy, invented and built by EW Mills in the 1940s, with war looming…


6.An employee on his motorized skates, on a break to refuel. We are in California in 1961.


7.Aerial photography was not at all easy with these huge cameras: this photo was taken during the Second World War.


8.If you think robot vacuums are an invention of today, you’re wrong: here’s the proof, the Robo-Vac in a 1959 ad.


9.This incredible 300-year-old tool allowed those in the library to keep up to 7 books open at once, so they could comfortably consult them when needed!


10.In 1955, before the invention of autoveloxes, these electric rail vehicles were installed in this New York tunnel, which monitored the speed of vehicles.


11.This is not a scene from a horror movie, but simply the oldest diving suit in the world: it dates from 1860!


12.This wonder on wheels is the Delahaye 175S Roadster, a car produced in one model, presented at the Paris Motor Show in 1949 and auctioned today for 5 million dollars!


13.This “ancestor” of pocket watches dates back more than 300 years and was carved from a block of emerald!


14.An anti-bombing “bed”, called the Morrison shelter, which protected the occupants from a possible collapse of the house during the air raids of the Second World War.


15.The “Isolator” helmet, invented by Hugo Gernsback to promote concentration by eliminating noise and distractions. Rather disturbing, don’t you think?


16.A hand-built Rice-Kellogg dynamic loudspeaker, the ancestor of today’s loudspeakers, manufactured in 1924.


17.This incredible means of transport is nothing more than a single-wheeled “motorcycle”, invented by the Italian Govetosa.

National Archives/Flickr

18.In this photo from 1973, the vice president of Motorola shows the world the DynaTac cell phone.


19.The ancestor of “flat screen” televisions: this television had a particularly thin screen, and was accompanied by a device allowing you to record programs to watch them later. Truly remarkable given its date of creation: 1961!


Aren’t they amazing, wonderful and weird all at the same time?

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