5 Historical Inventions You Won’t Believe Ever Existed

They might seem strange to us today, but back then these devices were taken seriously.

Of all the inventions throughout history, only the ones that became useful in our modern lives are known to us. But, there were plenty of inventions that are hard to conceive of today because of how we live today. From the useless to the bone-chilling, here are 5 historical inventions you won’t believe ever existed.

5) Cholera Belt

Newspaper ad for cholera belts from 1914. Via/ Wiki Commons

The cause of cholera was not understood as being a disease borne of contaminated water until the 1850s. Despite that fact, commons wisdom of the day placed the blame on catching chills. Dysentery and other diseases were also believed to be contracted this way. To prevent chills, a belt of knit wool or flannel was worn- most often by British soldiers traveling to India. This practice continued into the 20th century.

4) Coin Cleaning Machine

Once thought to be paramount to keeping the white gloves of ladies clean in that strange time when women still wore gloves but also had to handle money, the Westin St. Frances Hotel in San Fransisco began cleaning all money that passed through the hotel in the 1930s. The hotel still washes the coinage that they take in to this day, despite the face that ladies rarely wear white gloves anymore.

Via/ Flickr

3) Mortsafes

They were intended to keep “resurrection men” from graves. A mortsafe is an iron gate with spokes that go deep into the ground or sometimes a combination of stone and metal. Mortsafes were used in the time before bodies could be donated to science. Grave robbers would dig up the recently departed and sell the corpses for the burgeoning field of medical research.

It wasn’t until the Anatomy Act was passed in Britain in 1832 the act of stealing corpses was illegal and that bodies were allowed to be donated to science. Of course, only the wealthiest families could afford this last safeguard.

Via/ Wiki Commons

2) Hat to Prevent Drowning

In 1840 Samuel W.White applied for a patent on this hat to prevent drowning. The idea seems to center on an inflatable insert. But, what the design fails to include is a strap to keep the hat on- which means in the event of possible drowning your hat would simply float away.

Via/ Flickr

1) Flying Saucer Camera

The 1950 space-age Videon stereoscopic camera was designed for use by the Air Force to take two images at once- one like a normal camera would and the other image would show the various colors that composed the first image. The goal was to be able to study supposed flying saucer sightings more thoroughly. And, if you were really crafty, you could attempt to make your own.

Via/ Flickr

That’s it for these bizarre inventions. They aren’t the most famous of creations for obvious reasons, but it’s so interesting to find out what people thought was possible with the technology they had at the time all those years ago! And, you can click here to discover 10 inventions that were invented long before you thought they were!