5 Awesome Inventions That Never Made It

Posted by By Justin at 27 May, at 15 : 19 PM Print


With all of our great technology, we often forget about all of the great inventions of the past that never made it into production. It’s interesting to imagine a world in which some of these inventions had in fact succeeded. Many of the great inventors who created the things we use every day also created a lot of other things that never made it into the public eye. Here are some of those things.

1. Thomas Edison’s Metal Book

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Thomas Edison did more in his lifetime than just invent a lightbulb. He was the very man who thought of a lot of great ideas that could have changed the world for good. One of those ideas was an idea for a book that would weigh less than a pound and yet contain over 40,000 pages. These books could have been produced for less than $1.25, and would’ve been far more durable than paper books. His vision was to accomplish this with sheets of Nickel less than 1/20,000 of an inch thick which are extremely cheap and readily available. They are also far more durable than paper and waste substantially less. Other than the strangeness of the idea, there’s no real reason why these never made it into production. If these books made it into production, you could carry 200 books, 200 pages long, in one hand very easily.

2. E.C. Hanson’s Automobile Phone

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E.C. Hanson was a man who pioneered the concept of the sulfone. The problem was, his invention called for small telephone poles on the front of and back of the car, with a high voltage electric wire strung between them. Essentially, his idea was to put the cell phone towers on the cars, rather than in the phone. Obviously, the technology did not exist yet to make antennas small enough to fit inside of a phone. Needless to say, his idea never took off, but modern cell phones are built on technologies descended from his ideas.

3. The Tele-newspaper

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Long, long before the Internet and computers were invented, in 1928, an architect by the name of R.A. Duncan visualized how news should work in the future. The way Mr. Duncan envisioned the future of news was a black and white TV mounted to a wall, that would carry channels that only showed text-based news, laid out like a newspaper. He thought each newspaper would have a channel, and you could read all the newspapers on your wall-mounted black and white TV from the comfort of your own home. Little did he know, that he was dreaming about the Internet. Of course, his ideas never got implemented, but the concepts behind them would eventually become the way we consume news today.

4. Magic Lantern Talkies

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In October of 1937, a New York City marketing firm devised a way to make a 15 minute slide presentation that would present itself, complete with synchronized audio tracks. What this company had done was invent the PowerPoint presentation and the TV commercial, rolled up into one. The problem was, it cost about $1500 per presentation to make these things, which amounts to about $23,000 in today’s money. I’m sure you can imagine what your boss would say to you if you told him you needed to make a PowerPoint presentation and it would only cost the company $23,000!

5. Newspaper by Radio

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The radio newspaper was a 1939 predecessor of things like fax machines and laser printers, combined with the idea of a newspaper. The idea was that a radio transmission would carry the entire newspaper to a large box in your home, which would then print the entire newspaper, one line at a time, from a very large reel of paper. The newspaper, when finally printed, would be about 9 feet long, and could then be folded or cut to size. It would take about 15 minutes per page to download and print them. Of course, this seemed incredibly fast to the people of the 1930s. Of course, today we have things like RSS and blogs that give us the news instantly in endless quantities, without all the paper waste and delays. We can only imagine what the people of the 1930s would think if they saw a modern-day smartphone with things like The radio newspaper was a 1939 predecessor of things like fax machines and laser printers, combined with the idea of a newspaper. The idea was that a radio transmission would carry the entire newspaper to a large box in your home, which would then print the entire newspaper, one line at a time, from a very large reel of paper. The newspaper, when finally printed, would be about 9 feet long, and could then be folded or cut to size. It would take about 15 minutes per page to download and print them. Of course, this seemed incredibly fast to the people of the 1930s. Of course, today we have things like RSS and blogs that give us the news instantly in endless quantities, without all the paper waste and delays. We can only imagine what the people of the 1930s would think if they saw a modern-day smartphone with things like Twitter and Google Reader!

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