9 Bizarre Patents That Prove The Past Was A Nightmare

Let’s hear it for the modern age.

9. Bathing Apparatus, 1902

U.S. Patent No. 714,659 / Via ipwatchdog.com

Not actually a method of displaying disembodied heads, the Bathing Apparatus turned an “ordinary bath-tub commonly found in houses” into a steam or vapor bath. Sounds great! Very relaxing. Except, of course, that you’re trapped in a tiny enclosed space with a “suitable vaporizing apparatus” which is more likely giving you third degree burns than it is any sense of serenity.

8. Combined Plow and Gun, 1862

U.S. Patent No. 35,600 / Via weirdworm.com

Ok, sure, just one tiny question: why?

7. Creeping Doll, 1871

U.S. Patent No. 112,550 / Via thehistoryblog.com

Pretty sure this was an episode of The Twilight Zone, and pretty sure it ended in murder.

6. Improved Fire Escape, 1879

U.S. Patent 221,855 / Via neatorama.com

Ohhh, ok, so not “fire escape” as in the physical structure outside your window. “Fire escape” as in the act of escaping fire via parachute hat and platform elastic shoes? My mistake.

5. Airtight Coffin of Cast or Raised Metal, 1848

U.S. Patent No. 5,920 / Via atlasobscura.com

Because regular coffins left too much up to the imagination, and what they needed was to be tightly molded to the shape of the deceased, featuring a viewing window over the head, and with a tendency to explode.

4. Jack-o’-lantern Helmet, 1903

U.S. Patent No. 737,371 / Via ipwatchdog.com

Not sure when the “jack-o’-lantern” shifted from this flammable nightmare hat of racial insensitivity into our modern decorative pumpkin, but it’s probably good that it did.

3. Face Mask For Treating The Skin, 1893

U.S. Patent No. 495,265

This mask was intended to “remove complexional disorders” which I guess isn’t that different from some of the face masks we use today hahahaha JK kill me please.

2. Electrical Body Wear, 1889

U.S. Patent No. 396,212 / Via longstreet.typepad.com

No getting around the fact that this is straight-up a machine for electrocuting a dude’s nighttime boner away.

1. Device For Indicating Life In Buried Persons, 1882

U.S. Patent No. 268,693 / Via erikkwakkel.tumblr.com

“It will be seen that if the person buried should come to life a motion of his hands will turn the branches of the T-shaped pipe B […] and the cover E will turn and the index will show on the scale that it has been turned. If the person should turn in the coffin or make a violent motion, he will push the pipe B upward and push the cover off the top of the box. A supply of air enters the coffin through the pipe and will keep him alive till help arrives.”

Sweet dreams, everybody.

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