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5 Crazy Office Inventions That Thankfully DidnΓÇÖt Take Off

5 Crazy Office Inventions That Thankfully DidnΓÇÖt Take Off

TodayΓÇÖs office would look very different if these inventors had had their way. Thankfully, their ideas didnΓÇÖt take off. CanΓÇÖt think why.

The Isolator Hugo Gernsback [cc 3]

1. The Isolator

Think an inability to concentrate is a twenty-first century phenomenon? Think again. Almost a century ago, Hugo Gernsback believed he had a viable market for a wearable anti-distraction device and in 1925 The Isolator was born.

The premise was simple: the helmet would help to block out background noise, while the two small eye-holes on the front were the only way for the wearer to look out, forcing them to focus on the page directly in front of them.

In case youΓÇÖre wondering about the gas tank, it fixed an early design fault which meant that the wearer became light-headed after fifteen minutes of use.

It wonΓÇÖt surprise you to learn that the inventor was also a prolific sci-fi writer.

2. Phone-answering robot

This prototype for a phone-answering robot was designed in 1964. Despite looking creepy, this invention actually had the potential to be a real time-saving device in the office ΓÇô if it hadnΓÇÖt been for some serious design faults. While the robot could pick up the phone (and put it down again), it couldnΓÇÖt speak or even record a message, making its ability to reduce the workload in the office pretty minimal.

Its inventors might take heart from more recent technological advances though, which make the advent of a phone-answering robot in the office a lot more likely.

3. Anti-bandit bag

If you often take your work home of an evening, this oneΓÇÖs for you. Worried that thieves will snatch your briefcase on the way to or from the office, depriving you of your precious paperwork?

Worry not ΓÇô the Anti-Bandit Bag is the answer. As soon as someone makes a grab for your briefcase, the case will self-destruct ΓÇô the bottom falling out and the contents spilling out all over the pavement. Because creased, dirt-spattered paperwork is better than no paperwork at all.

4. Corresfile

The first word in fifties filing chic, the Corresfile debuted at a US business show in 1953. Its aim was to make filing simpler, particularly for the overworked filing clerk whose job it would have been to heft pile after pile of documents into an assortment of drawers.

A nice idea, in principle. The reality was a clunky, complicated system consisting of a hydraulic seat and a series of circular shelving units. The seat could be raised up and down to access higher shelves, while the shelves rotated. Why walk to a shelf, when the shelf can come to you?

On the other hand, it scores no points for aesthetics and takes up valuable office space. No wonder it didnΓÇÖt catch on.

Three cheers for electronic filing systems!

5. Whisky vending machine

Having a hard day in the office? Need some refreshment? Simply head to your nearest vending machine for a ready mixed whisky and soda…

Mad Men might have taught us to believe that office life in the sixties was a lot more laidback (in ad agencies at least) than today ΓÇô but really, is having whisky on tap in the office ever a good idea? HR departments everywhere say ΓÇ£noΓÇ¥.

Think any of these inventions should make a comeback in the twenty-first century? Cast your vote in the comments.

(Image: Gernsback Isolator; source: Valentina Tanni, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0, cropped from original.)

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Author: | July 17, 2014 | 1 Comment

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