6 Things That Were Really Different When They Were First Invented

These inventions evolved over time to become the objects we know today.

The prototypes of things we use everyday can be almost unrecognizable in their early forms. Commons objects to us now sometimes looked very different in the old days. Of course, these products aren’t always direct ancestors of brands we have today, but the concepts were there many years ago and in forms sometimes not so familiar. Here are 6 things that were pretty different in the old days- you might not even catch what some of them are at first glance!

Via/ Unsplash

WWI-era Armored Cars

World War I was a time of innovation in the world of invention and technology, no more so than in the realm of war machines. The Great War had a number of firsts in combat: weaponized gas, tanks, airborne bombers, and the first armored cars. Though they don’t look terribly sturdy when compared with modern versions, the first armored cars offered much more protection than other vehicles at the time. However, they were found to be quite top heavy– certainly not an advantage in battle.

Via/ Flickr

Ivorine Syringes

In the early days of what could be considered a more modern approach to medicine, syringes for hypodermic needles and other uses were made from ebony, ivory (or imitation ivory in this case), or other porous materials, not the most sanitary of materials.

Via/ Wellcome Collection

18th Century Exercise Machine

Move over Peloton, Stair Master, and elliptical machines- this vintage Gymnasticon works the upper and lower body at the same time. The “machine for exercising the joints and muscles” was patented in the late 1700s and featured wooden pedals for the feet and belts connected to wooden wheels to work the arms.

Via/ Wellcome Images

Edwardian Baby Incubators

The first incubators for babies were created in the late 19th century and showcased the power of science to the general public. Babies born too small and too early were put on display at exhibits and fun fairs, as something of a combination sideshow and medical exposition. Despite the dodgy origins of this machine, the end result was that many babies were able to be saved, much more than without these miraculous machines.

Far from what we know today about incubators, the early models were more like cabinets and held 2 or 3 babies at a time.

Via/ State Archives of Florida

Early Antibacterial Soap

There was a time when antibacterial soap was not something to be found in every bathroom and kitchen. Instead, early soaps marketed specifically for use in the bathroom or in taking care of babies relied on an ingredient called sphagnol, derived from sphagnum moss. In theory this substance contained acids which could help kill bacteria, but in practice the lack of regulations meant that a standard solution strength for efficacy was never determined.

Via/ Wellcome Images

Early Microphones

Before microphones were oblong in shape, even before the classic radio announcer microphones of yore, the first microphones were disk-shaped, often with holes in the front plate which made them resemble manual telephone dials more than modern mics.

Via/ Flickr