Ever do something so dumb that you just wanted to kick yourself? In 1937, Tom Haywood and local handyman Wilber Herring built a contraption that would deliver a good, swift kick to the seat of the pants of any willing recipient.
Haywood said he intended the kicking machine for his personal use, “to perform the needed rebuke to my conscience.” He kept it behind his house. But so many folks heard about the machine and wanted to use it that Haywood finally moved it to a shelter in front of his general store. The shelter stood at the roadside on U.S. 70, about ten miles east of New Bern.
According to old newspaper accounts, the kicking machine got a good workout on Sunday afternoons from motorists going home from the beach. But at nighttime, the machine really got cranking. “A lot of folks don’t want people to know they need a kick, so they wait until I close up at night and then come around,” Haywood said. “Late at night I can hear the machine just a squeaking outside.”
Haywood died in 1955, but his niece and her husband continued to run his store and the kicking machine until the 1980s. By then, U.S. 70 had become a busy four-lane highway, and the kicking machine got little attention. In 1993 the family donated the beloved contraption to the North Carolina Museum of History.
In 1960, Dr. Robert Hanson, an acoustic scientist at the Bell Telephone Labs, invented his own way of listening to music in stereo. His extra head had a tiny microphone in each ear which picked up the music just as the real ear would. Then, the music was relayed to genuine Dr. Rober Hanson. The extra head was needed so the microphones could be realistically placed in the ears instead of outside on the earphones. By taking off the dummy head and listening to what it hears when it stands on the table, Hanson has found that immobility destroyed the stereophonic effects of depth. The imperceptible head movements people make while listening to music help them tell how far away the source of the sound is.
Prized at $459, this party weapon, completely harmless, can be reloaded with any Champagne Brand’s Magnum bottle and can work either with a service spout or a diffuser.
This utterly useless thing was made with pencils, a pen, a paper clip, rubber bands, spring clips, and a ball bearing.
Czech conceptual artist Jan Strmiska recently sought to raise money to fund the production of his invention, the Audiopill. It’s a pill-like device that you swallow that will play sound within your body (but not audible to anyone else).
When swallowed it starts beating within you innards at a preset BPM. Restless feeling will pump you up to insanity.
Audiopill (pill) will make you feel like you are standing in the middle of a concert hall with a powerful audiosystem inside your body. Or like you are standing in a factory workshop full metal working machines and ramming an impact drill into your stomach. The only diference is there’s an absolute silence all around and you are experiencing the music in perfect privacy and only from the inside.
Invented in the 1920s, the safety pea knife was great for those who prefer to eat their peas with a knife rather than a spoon.