It’s estimated that there are 4.8 million startups in the US alone. It’s no wonder then that the startup scene is so buzzing. Yet the concept of building a business based on one incredible disruptive idea is nothing new. Ever since the Industrial Revolution, there’s been a long history of inventors transforming society with a single successful concept, while making a ton of money along the way. Alexander Graham Bell did it with the telephone, Thomas Edison with the light bulb. However, just as an estimated 90% of startups fail in the 21st century, modern history too is littered with great failures. To celebrate these, we’ve put together a short pictorial history of vintage inventions that sadly never made the grade.
10-wheel drive is definitely cooler than 4-wheel drive, as this 1931 all-terrain car proves. Created in England, this vehicle was designed to take on slopes of 65 degrees.
This 1931 portable radio attached to a fashionable straw hat let you listen to radio shows while on the go.
Part gas lamp and part vending machine, these street lamps from the late 1890s were able to dispense hot drinks like coffee and cocoa, sugar, cigarettes, and postcards for a half-penny per pop. Sadly, these nifty things lasted less than a year after penny-pinching locals realised they could simply replace coins with small pieces of tin.
Designed to cut down on pedestrian injuries and fatalities, the pedestrian scoop could attached to the front of the vehicle to “scoop” the victim up rather than pull them under the wheels. This invention is more useful than it is strange: in fact, Helsinki trams in the 70s used a similar feature.
For when you want to go ice-skating, but don’t want to hold your heavy baby.
This Colt 38 with a camera from 1938 New York automatically took a picture when the trigger was pulled.
Dogs love to go on joyrides, sticking their adorable snouts out of the car window with the wind in their fur. But dog owners in the 1930s didn't want to deal with the hassle of it all. Solution? The dog sack sidecar, a handy little bag that attaches to your car’s running board and quickly turns your dog’s joy into terror.
Dog Car Walker
Yet another way to terrorise dogs with cars, the Dog Car Walker takes the work out of dog walking. Simply attach dogs and put the pedal to the metal.
This double-ended Model T Ford Roadster was the work of Mueller Auto Repair in Louisville, Kentucky. Because two drivers are better than one, right?
Cigarette Holder for Nudists
This cigarette holder for nudists looks like a useful device to have back in the 60s, when, as we all know, most people were smokers and/or nudists. Perhaps it could be modernised by rebranding as a smartphone holder for nudists?
It’s a shame that gentlemanly canes have gone out fashion, as this multi-purpose cane looks pretty handy. According to this image, playing the flute, catching butterflies, and measuring horses are among the many things you can do with a single cane.
Victorian inventor Gustave Trouvé came up with tons of cool creations, many of which influenced devices and technologies we still use daily. His invention of the headlamp for miners inspired him to create something not quite as useful, but equally dazzling: luminous electric jewellery. Used in stage performances or by anyone who wanted to sparkle, these glowing gems lit up a room. In fact, many consider his electric jewellery to be one of the earliest examples of wearable tech.