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The Oddment Emporium

A Cornucopia of Eclectic Delights

Posts tagged Invention:

Charvolants
The Charvolant was an early 19th century invention of a carriage drawn entirely by kites. The inventor, George Pocock, had been interested in the power of kites since youth, experimenting first by attempting to move small objects such as rocks and then later using larger kites to transport people. For example, in 1824 he used a 9metre kite to lift his daughter 82metres in the air, and a year later his son successfully ascended a 60metre cliff in a chair.
Pocock now turned his attentions to moving loads, namely carriages filled with people. After much experimentation he determined that a small number of large kites would work, and he patented his invention of the Charvolant in 1826. Two kites on a single line between 457 and 459metres long was enough to pull the buggy at a considerable speed of 32km/h. The buggy was, however, exceptionally difficult to steer, which may account for why it never became popular. The driver would have to control both the kites and the wheels of the carriage through the pulling of various ropes and bars.
Three Charvolants embarked on a journey of 182km from Bristol to Marlborough and one kite-drawn buggy sailed passed the mail coach which was, at the time, the fastest mode of transport. On another occasion a Charvolant passed the carriage of the Duke of Gloucester, an event considered exceptionally rude, and so the occupants of the Charvolant had to stop and wait for the Duke to pass them again. Another benefit of the Charvolant was that it avoided tolls which were worked out by the number of horses a carriage had.
[Source]

Charvolants

The Charvolant was an early 19th century invention of a carriage drawn entirely by kites. The inventor, George Pocock, had been interested in the power of kites since youth, experimenting first by attempting to move small objects such as rocks and then later using larger kites to transport people. For example, in 1824 he used a 9metre kite to lift his daughter 82metres in the air, and a year later his son successfully ascended a 60metre cliff in a chair.

Pocock now turned his attentions to moving loads, namely carriages filled with people. After much experimentation he determined that a small number of large kites would work, and he patented his invention of the Charvolant in 1826. Two kites on a single line between 457 and 459metres long was enough to pull the buggy at a considerable speed of 32km/h. The buggy was, however, exceptionally difficult to steer, which may account for why it never became popular. The driver would have to control both the kites and the wheels of the carriage through the pulling of various ropes and bars.

Three Charvolants embarked on a journey of 182km from Bristol to Marlborough and one kite-drawn buggy sailed passed the mail coach which was, at the time, the fastest mode of transport. On another occasion a Charvolant passed the carriage of the Duke of Gloucester, an event considered exceptionally rude, and so the occupants of the Charvolant had to stop and wait for the Duke to pass them again. Another benefit of the Charvolant was that it avoided tolls which were worked out by the number of horses a carriage had.

[Source]

The Horsey Horseless
The advent of motorised vehicles in the late 19th century had the unfortunate side-effect of terrifying their predecessors - horses. As horse drawn carriages and these new-fangled automobiles whizzed past one another on busy streets, the horses would be so startled by the speed and noise of the machines that their owners would threaten to shoot the drivers there and then!
Enter Uriah Smith. An inventor from Michigan, in 1899 Smith proposed a solution in the form of the Horsey Horseless carriage; a motorised vehicle with a wooden horses head attached to the front, so it somewhat resembled a typical horse and carriage. He reasoned that, upon witnessing this monstrosity, “The live horse would be thinking of another horse and before he could discover his error and see that he had been fooled, the strange carriage would be passed.”
It is not know whether any Horsey Horseless carriages were ever actually made.
[Sources: A Touch of Knowledge | Time]

The Horsey Horseless

The advent of motorised vehicles in the late 19th century had the unfortunate side-effect of terrifying their predecessors - horses. As horse drawn carriages and these new-fangled automobiles whizzed past one another on busy streets, the horses would be so startled by the speed and noise of the machines that their owners would threaten to shoot the drivers there and then!

Enter Uriah Smith. An inventor from Michigan, in 1899 Smith proposed a solution in the form of the Horsey Horseless carriage; a motorised vehicle with a wooden horses head attached to the front, so it somewhat resembled a typical horse and carriage. He reasoned that, upon witnessing this monstrosity, “The live horse would be thinking of another horse and before he could discover his error and see that he had been fooled, the strange carriage would be passed.”

It is not know whether any Horsey Horseless carriages were ever actually made.

[Sources: A Touch of Knowledge | Time]

Spruce Girls: Modelling Wooden Swimwear

According to Popular Science, May 1930:

[Wooden bathing suits] are the latest novelty for use on the bathing beaches. Fashioned of thin spruce, they are said to be practical as costumes and also are sufficiently buoyant to encourage a timid swimmer to take a plunge. So far, none of them has warped or cracked.

Many of the photographs likely come from a 1929 advertisement featuring “Spruce Girls” on the beach modelling spruce wood veneer bathing suits to promote the products of Gray Harbor lumber industry in Washington. Furthermore, a 1932 video of the production of these costumes can be seen here. [Source]

(Source: vintag.es)

Aerial Reconnaissance Pigeons

Pigeon photography is an aerial photography technique invented in 1907 by the German apothecary Julius Neubronner, who also used pigeons to deliver medications. A homing pigeon was fitted with an aluminium breast harness to which a lightweight time-delayed miniature camera could be attached.

Initially, the military potential of pigeon photography for aerial reconnaissance appeared attractive. Battlefield tests in the First World War provided encouraging results, but the ancillary technology of mobile dovecotes for messenger pigeons had the greatest impact.

Owing to the rapid perfection of aviation during the war, military interest in pigeon photography faded and Neubronner abandoned his experiments. The idea was briefly resurrected in the 1930s by a Swiss clockmaker, and reportedly also by the German and French militaries. Although war pigeons were deployed extensively during the Second World War, it is unclear to what extent, if any, birds were involved in aerial reconnaissance.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Cat Organ
A cat piano is a conjectural musical instrument which consists of a line of cats fixed in place with their tails stretched out underneath a keyboard so that cats cry out in pain when a key is pressed. The cats would be arranged according to the natural tone of their voices. There is no official record of a Cat Organ actually being built, but it is described in literature as a bizarre concept.
[Legend has it] This crazy musical instrument was designed in 1650 by Athanasius Kircher, a 17th century German scholar.

The piano was designed to raise the spirits of an Italian prince who was too stressed out. The musician would select cats whose voices were at different pitches then arrange them in the pens accordingly. The piano delivered sharp pokes into the tails of the cats. [Source]

In his book, Musiciana, Descriptions of Rare or Bizarre Inventions (1877), Jean-Baptiste Weckerlin describes how:

When the King of Spain Felipe II was in Brussels in 1549 visiting his father … each saw the other rejoicing at the sight of a completely singular procession … The most curious [part of which] was … a chariot that carried the most singular music that can be imagined. It held a bear that played the organ; instead of pipes, there were sixteen cat heads each with its body confined; the tails were sticking out and were held to be played as the strings on a piano, if a key was pressed on the keyboard, the corresponding tail would be pulled hard, and it would produce each time a lamentable meow. This abominable orchestra arranged itself inside a theatre where monkeys, wolves, deer and other animals danced to the sounds of this infernal music.

Cat Organ

A cat piano is a conjectural musical instrument which consists of a line of cats fixed in place with their tails stretched out underneath a keyboard so that cats cry out in pain when a key is pressed. The cats would be arranged according to the natural tone of their voices. There is no official record of a Cat Organ actually being built, but it is described in literature as a bizarre concept.

[Legend has it] This crazy musical instrument was designed in 1650 by Athanasius Kircher, a 17th century German scholar.

The piano was designed to raise the spirits of an Italian prince who was too stressed out. The musician would select cats whose voices were at different pitches then arrange them in the pens accordingly. The piano delivered sharp pokes into the tails of the cats. [Source]

In his book, Musiciana, Descriptions of Rare or Bizarre Inventions (1877), Jean-Baptiste Weckerlin describes how:

When the King of Spain Felipe II was in Brussels in 1549 visiting his father … each saw the other rejoicing at the sight of a completely singular procession … The most curious [part of which] was … a chariot that carried the most singular music that can be imagined. It held a bear that played the organ; instead of pipes, there were sixteen cat heads each with its body confined; the tails were sticking out and were held to be played as the strings on a piano, if a key was pressed on the keyboard, the corresponding tail would be pulled hard, and it would produce each time a lamentable meow. This abominable orchestra arranged itself inside a theatre where monkeys, wolves, deer and other animals danced to the sounds of this infernal music.

A mustache does not have to be a simple tuft of hair above the lip and below the nose. In the 19th century, mustaches assumed all kinds of forms thanks to the holding power of wax. They were personal works of art.
The wax, however, was not perfect. For one, it could be melted or mussed by steam or hot liquids. That spelled trouble at tea time. But never fear, the relentlessly inventive 19th century tinkerer devised a solution: the mustache protector.
Originally invented by English potter Harvey Adams in 1830, according to Allan Peterkin’s “One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair,” mustache guards were so popular that many others were quick to claim their own patents.
While drinking, a man would rest his majestic mustache on the guard that stretched across the inside of the cup. The ledge would block hot drinks from melting his mustache out of shape.

A mustache does not have to be a simple tuft of hair above the lip and below the nose. In the 19th century, mustaches assumed all kinds of forms thanks to the holding power of wax. They were personal works of art.

The wax, however, was not perfect. For one, it could be melted or mussed by steam or hot liquids. That spelled trouble at tea time. But never fear, the relentlessly inventive 19th century tinkerer devised a solution: the mustache protector.

Originally invented by English potter Harvey Adams in 1830, according to Allan Peterkin’s “One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair,” mustache guards were so popular that many others were quick to claim their own patents.

While drinking, a man would rest his majestic mustache on the guard that stretched across the inside of the cup. The ledge would block hot drinks from melting his mustache out of shape.

She knew it like the back of her hand …
The National Archives holds a vast accumulation of historic maps but few are as unusual as this one. It’s a leather glove painted with a map of London landmarks and was designed to help fashionable ladies find their way to and from the Great Exhibition held in London’s Hyde Park in 1851.
As far as we know, the glove was never produced commercially. This example survives because its creator, George Shove, chose to protect his design by registering it with the government. This involved depositing a ‘representation’, which was a sample, a drawing or a photograph of the design, at the Office of the Registrar of Designs.
Something similar.

She knew it like the back of her hand …

The National Archives holds a vast accumulation of historic maps but few are as unusual as this one. It’s a leather glove painted with a map of London landmarks and was designed to help fashionable ladies find their way to and from the Great Exhibition held in London’s Hyde Park in 1851.

As far as we know, the glove was never produced commercially. This example survives because its creator, George Shove, chose to protect his design by registering it with the government. This involved depositing a ‘representation’, which was a sample, a drawing or a photograph of the design, at the Office of the Registrar of Designs.

Something similar.

vicfangirlguide:

A chatelaine which was displayed at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Before the 1850s pockets were uncommon in female clothing and so women used chatelaines as a fashionable, decorative means of carrying small and useful items. The chatelaine would be hung from a belt and, through a series of clips and chains, contain a variety of objects such as scissors, keys, scent bottles, penknives, tweezers, writing pads and letter openers.

vicfangirlguide:

A chatelaine which was displayed at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Before the 1850s pockets were uncommon in female clothing and so women used chatelaines as a fashionable, decorative means of carrying small and useful items. The chatelaine would be hung from a belt and, through a series of clips and chains, contain a variety of objects such as scissors, keys, scent bottles, penknives, tweezers, writing pads and letter openers.

(via victorianfanguide)

Franz Reichelt

Franz Reichelt, also known as Frantz Reichelt or François Reichelt (1879 – February 4, 1912), was an Austrian-born French tailor, inventor and parachuting pioneer, now sometimes referred to as the Flying Tailor, who is remembered for his accidental death by jumping from the Eiffel Tower while testing a wearable parachute of his own design. Reichelt had become fixated on developing a suit for aviators that would convert into a parachute and allow them to survive a fall should they be forced to leave their aircraft. Initial experiments conducted with dummies dropped from the fifth floor of his apartment building had been successful, but he was unable to replicate those early successes with any of his subsequent designs.

Believing that the lack of a suitably high test platform was partially to blame for his failures, Reichelt repeatedly petitioned the Parisian Prefecture of Police for permission to conduct a test from the Eiffel Tower. He was finally granted permission in early 1912, but when he arrived at the tower on February 4 he made it clear that he intended to jump himself rather than conduct an experiment with dummies. Despite attempts by his friends and spectators to dissuade him, he jumped from the first platform of the tower wearing his invention. The parachute failed to deploy and he crashed into the icy ground at the foot of the tower. Although it was clear that the fall had killed him, he was taken to a nearby hospital where he was officially pronounced dead. The next day, newspapers were full of the story of the reckless inventor and his fatal jump – many included pictures of the fall taken by press photographers who had gathered to witness Reichelt’s experiment – and a film documenting the jump appeared in newsreels.

VIDEO.

(Source: Wikipedia)

A 1903 patent for eye protection for chickens:

'This invention relates to eye-protectors, and more particularly to eye-protectors designed for fowls, so that they may be protected from other fowls that might attempt to peck them…' [Source]

A 1903 patent for eye protection for chickens:

'This invention relates to eye-protectors, and more particularly to eye-protectors designed for fowls, so that they may be protected from other fowls that might attempt to peck them…' [Source]

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