Humanity has been creating stuff since it first crawled out of the proverbial cave, and they’re not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. But it’s important to look back at some of the inventions from long ago, because it’s how we learn from our past. In some cases, we might feel inspired to create a better version of an old idea. Then again, sometimes we check out some devices from olden days so that we can shake our heads and wonder what the heck our ancestors were thinking when they created these things. So here are a few examples of some unusual devices, many of which we’re glad have remained far in the past.
In the 18th century, they didn’t have high chairs for children, but they did have this alternative.
Being a parent in the 18th century was a breeze thanks to a chamber pot that you could put over a table, thereby turning it into a high chair. You could adjust the footrest too so your child would be comfortable. And total bonus! You could also just take the chair down and use the table as a coffee table.
People didn’t always have a network of plumbing or bathroom sinks to wash their hands and faces.
Fortunately, they had this chamber hygiene set, which is basically, a chamber pot, a mug, a bowl, a soap dish, a pitcher, and a wash bowl so you could freshen up like royalty before heading to work or heading to bed.
If you ever needed to go number 1 or 2 in the middle of the night, you could rely on this chamber pot.
Unlike most chamber pots, this one didn’t look like one. So, you could literally pass this off as a beautiful Victorian chair piece in your bedroom, and then flip the lid and go number 1 when you felt Mother Nature calling.
Shaving used to be a bigger deal, or rather an ordeal, back in the days of old, hence the shaving stands.
Just look all those drawers, bowls, and tiers! It must have been quite a ritual to shave a few centuries ago. About the only thing we can spot that looks even remotely useful is the mirror. But we’re sure there’s an old-style razor in there somewhere.
It didn’t matter who you were in those days, because fleas were a major issue that affected everyone.
Women in the Victorian age would trap the fleas using a hollowed tube with holes. This tub would contain drops of blood to attract the fleas. Then, the fat and honey resin would cause them to stick to the device when they got inside. Women would often wear this device around their necks.
This flea trap might not have been a fan of PETA if they’d been around back in the 18th century.
Women would wear a dead animal in order to attract fleas. They figured that perhaps those annoying critters would find this trap a lot more appealing than the human who was wearing it. But it’s really unsanitary when you think about it.
People in the Victorian age used a button hook whenever they needed to tighten their buttons.
It looked awfully expensive and fancy for a device that made it easier to close buttoned shoes, gloves, and clothing. It had a small hook with a long handle, and it was all the rage to have one of these in those days.
The mustache cup was designed specifically for gentlemen who had a hard time drinking tea.
It can be tough to drink tea when you’re sporting a mustache. So, this cup was invented in order to keep a man’s mustache nice and dry. But honestly, wouldn’t it have been easier to just use a napkin to dry it up after each sip? Duh!
It might look like something women used to fan themselves with when it was nice and warm.
It’s actually a dance engagement card. Different types of dances were listed so that women would know what to expect during the event. They could also write down the name of their dance partner, so they’d remember who was better. After the event, the card became a keepsake.
This was an 1886 dance card, which served as an alternative to the previous fan-looking version.
The dance card was distributed at St. John’s Wood house, where several Balls were held. A woman tied the card around the wrist and then a guy would walk up to her and ask her to dance. She would then write his name down next to the particular dance they agreed on until the card was full.
Owning your very own x-ray photo was the latest rage back in the early 20th century in America.
If you think selfies are a fad now, you should see people’s x-ray collections. Since the technology was relatively new, everyone back then wanted to have their own x-ray photo and owning one made you look like you were high up on the food chain.
Dyeing your teeth black was a common practice for upper class folks in the UK, and other parts too.
In Japan, people dyed their teeth black until it became illegal in 1870, during the Meiji era. While it may have fallen out of favor since the Victorian age, some areas in China, and Southeast Asia still use the method. Of course, so does your dentist, but today it’s called dental sealant and prevents tooth decay.
Chopine shoes were common with Venetian women during the early sixteenth century.
Chopines were quite practical because of their high-platform features as well as their thick soles. It not only protected a woman’s feet from the wet, muddy ground, but also from uneven roads. It also gave women a height advantage too, which is why they loved it so much.
A lot of the clothing once used consisted of dead animal skin like rabbit fur for their felt hats.
Men in the 18th and 19th century wore felt hats that contained rabbit fur. Hat makers would brush a hat with mercury in order to get the fur to stick to it in the 1730s. Even hats like this one, which had been made in the 19th century contained traces of mercury.
Be grateful that we now have toothpicks made of thin wood instead of this hook monstrosity.
After folks were done with their meal, they would take out devices like this metal toothpick and start picking off pieces of meat and lettuce that had gotten caught between their teeth. But admittedly, it would make a cool weapon too.
People would often stuff themselves during Britain’s Elizabethan era and we’re not talking about food.
Regardless of gender, people would add lots of padding to their clothes, till they looked puffier. This process was known as bombasting and they would add stuffing to intentionally look like they had a rounder belly. The bombast would be made of bran, horsehair, cotton, or rags.
This one might gross you out, but imagine living in a time when Q-Tips hadn’t been invented yet?
People in those days would resort to nose and ear picks in order to remove the wax out of their ears. They also picked their boogers out with these things too. We know… gross! But it’s better than picking your brains out with your finger in public.
In 1898, you didn’t have to go to a drug dealer to get your next hit of heroin, just a pharmacy.
In those days, heroin was used as an elixir to treat serious coughs, and you could get at $4.85 an ounce, which is a steal considering today’s illegal market value price. By 1914, there were approximately 200,000 New Yorkers hooked on heroine, because they came in with a cough and ended up wanting more.
In the 1930s, baby cages were all the rage, and parents placed their kids out like an air conditioner.
It was actually pretty popular in London after they were invented in 1922, because the folks at the time lacked any form of outdoor area in some communities. So, apartment buildings were retrofitted to include these cages which looked like freaking cages.
We know cocaine leads to addiction, overdose, and eventually death, but it was an ingredient in children’s medicine.
In 1885, it was advertised as relief for dental pain… for children! All you did was put a few drops over the child’s toothache and the pain was gone. Of course, it would be years before the medical community would realize that the analgesic properties of cocaine weren’t worth the deadly side effects.