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5 bizzare inventions of famous inventors

The career of a scientist is not linear, it’s rather multi-faceted with its branches sprouting into many dimensions, some driven by economics other by passion however equally significant for humanity. Following is the list of some of the most unusual and perhaps unknown inventions by famous scientists.

Maxim’s Flying Rocket Machines

The Sir Hiram Maxim Captive Flying Machines operating at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 2006.source
The Sir Hiram Maxim Captive Flying Machines operating at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 2006.source

Famous for his Maxim gun that every historian and military experts are familiar with, Hiram Maxim is also associated with a celebrated ride still entertaining people up and down the United Kingdom. British Army once prides itself over Maxim guns; when confronted by African tribes rebelling against the colonials a British commander famously commented that he was not afraid of the tribes even if they come in their thousands as long as he has the Maxim. Widely used in the First World War the Maxim gun soon became the trademark of British Army for many decades. However Harim Maxim had other motives, he wanted to create awareness among the members of public about flying and for that matter, he came up with many ideas. Maxim created a recreational machine with rocket shaped seats around the ride to give an impression of flying, hence creating an interest in flying while providing amusement to the public.

Hugo Gernbacks Isolation Helmet


The idea was to create the smallest possible isolation environment freeing the carrier of all the ailments hindering attention hence facilitating the progress and enhancing productivity. Hugo Gernsback who is known as the father of science fiction invented the device and reported that his invention had the potential to revolutionize the modern take on productivity and effective workspace. During his career, Gernsback saw a number of ups and downs, supposedly for his rigid and eccentric behaviour. After founding the first ever science fiction magazine in 1926 ‘The Amazing Stories’ a number of writers started working for him including the legendary H.P. Lovecraft, however, most of these writers complained about Gernsback dealing and selfish behaviour with his writers. In 1925 in an issue of Science and Invention, Gernsback introduced his ‘futuristic’ device while himself appearing as a model. The device provided the perfect isolation from any distracting noise and light while constantly providing oxygen to the person using it. Apart from the eerie medieval appearance, Gernsback product lacks the futuristic tone that he famously portrayed in his writings, causing his project to die in its infancy with the lack of public interest.

John Logie Baird’s Socks

John Logie’s main contribution was towards the production of Television mechanism, the modern Television set’s technology owes a great deal to the legendary inventor. Although Baird’s later years saw a significant achievement and consequently the appreciation from all walks of life, his early days were not that exciting and colourful after all. Prior to the launch of fully functional mechanical TV in 1926, Baird’s career saw some very bizarre turns; he even tried to enlist for Army to fight in the War. After being refused by the Army, Baird took a job at a munitions factory and started hatching ideas for new military gear. His opportunity came with an ailment causing an uproar in the military high commands. Called the Trench Foot, this disease crippled Army’s progress since a number of soldiers were getting sore feet drenched in the water, some even dying by the sickness. Baird came up with an idea of a sock that could prevent cold and wet to reach the feet by creating a solid barrier between the two. Hence, the legendary Baird’s socks were born; simply an additional pair of socks worn under the other socks coated with special wet preventive and antiseptic material the product significantly decreased the ailment giving fame and money to struggling inventor.

Eugene Rimmel’s Toilet Cleaner

Advertising (1851) for Rimmel's toilet vinegar .source
Advertising (1851) for Rimmel’s toilet vinegar .source

150 years after Eugene Rimmel the cosmetic legend died, his products can still be seen on the top shelves of some of the biggest beauty shops and saloon around the globe. Famous for his cosmetic products especially the invention of non-toxic mascara that took the world by storm in 1834, Eugene Rimmel was a staunch Hygienist who gave personal hygiene paramount importance. One of the very first products that Eugene Rimmel introduced to the world was a vinegar concoction containing lavender extracts, benzoin, and tincture. The product was initially launched as shampoo or moisturizers under the label Toilet Vinegar, however, it quickly gained a reputation for a brilliant toilet cleaner and people only used it as a cleaner. Rimmel felt no shame in rebranding the product as a toilet cleaner and sold it as a refreshing tonic for the toilet and bath claiming to have unmatched sanitary and disinfectant properties.

Da Vinci’s Bronze Horse

Da vinci 's horse.source
Da Vinci’s horse.source

Commissioned by the Duke of Milan Francesco Sforza in 1482, Da Vinci was asked to create a giant horse statue for the Palace. Quickly named as Gran Cavallo, the giant equestrian statue would be 24ft tall weighing more than 80 tonne, completely made of Bronze. Once completed the statue would have been the largest statue of its kind at the time, bringing honour and fame to the Duke of Milan. Da Vince quickly got to work and formed a detailed plan for the statue and decided to forge the statue out of one massive bulk of bronze and informed the duke about his ambitious intentions. However later upheavals in the monarchy and subsequent conflicts prevented the realization of Da Vinci’s Gran Cavallo, and the famous inventor could only settle for an initial clay model of the statue.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News