Things Are Hard To Imagine Now But They Were Acceptable Back In The Day

Things Are Hard To Imagine Now But They Were Acceptable Back In The Day

May 25, 2020Mourad Awad

Nowadays, new products that facilitate our lives are released all the time. It is easy to research them, read reviews, and compare them with competing products. But back in the day, that wasn't possible. Also, as you will see, in the past, not all products facilitated our lives! We have gathered all the weirdest and craziest inventions from the past, and some will have you wondering what the inventor was thinking when they thought of such an offbeat idea. Let's get right to it! 

Portable Sauna

It was listed in Life Magazine's 30 dumbest inventions ever. However, if you do a little research, you will find out that they haven't gone out of style. Finnish Olympic teams still take portable saunas with them when they leave for competitions. But it's not just for athletes; anybody can enjoy a sauna on the go. Well, I guess It's time to go on eBay and find me one of those. Invented in 1962 in Finland, this ingenious invention saved you a trip to the sauna as it literally brings it right at your doorstep.

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Beauty Contest in Cliftonville, 1936

This photo depicts a beauty contest that took place in Cliftonville, Mississippi in 1936 called the Miss Lovely Eyes Pageant. Apparently, in this specific section of the competition, women's eyes are at the forefront, so their faces are covered in order for the umpires not to be biased and judge fairly. In the 1930s, this was quite common, whether it was to judge the women's' eyes, knees, or other body parts. However, the majority of these pageants used these scary-looking masks that belong in a horror movie rather than a beauty pageant.

The Ghost Team

This is an Argentinian football team, and they were going to play against Bolivia back on Septemeber 23, 1973. The group was then divided into two, and one had to travel to Tilcara, which is 2,500 meters over sea level to start training at that altitude. However, the Argentina FA forgot about the group, and they did not receive supplies or money for the hotel or food. No one could contact them while they stayed in Tilcara; so they were nicknamed “The Ghost Team”.

Suntan Vending Machine, USA, 1949

Wouldn't it be great to be able to easily get a tan on your own, without going out to the sun or to an indoor tanning studio? In 1949, you could! Just kidding. This isn't actually what you think. This machine simply dispenses suntan lotion at beaches, pools, etc.. The machine was manufactured by Star Manufacturing Company in Chicago in 1949, and it cost 10 cents to use for thirty seconds.

A Car Seat in the 40s

Now, we have already established that car safety was not a huge issue long ago. Maybe, it was because not everyone had a car, although America was rapidly becoming a major vehicle consumer. Car seats started appearing in the 30s to stop children from moving in the cars, but not really for their safety. In the 40s, they made them higher so that the kids could see out the windows.

Circus In the USA

This image goes back to 1937. Interestingly, American circuses were the first ones to introduce animals. European circuses were just family performers. Europeans adopted it after Barnum & Bailey toured overseas with their “Greatest Show On Earth” in the early 1900s. The biggest elephant circuses in the United States were Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.

You Could Drink Directly from the Garden Hose

In the 60s, there was no bottled water. Maybe, some folks had a canteen. Therefore, when you were playing around with your friends, you would all normally drink from the garden hose. Unfortunately, the water from hoses was not regulated like the rest of the house, and it turns out, there it had high levels of lead. Additionally, the brass nozzle would add to the danger.

Using the Fire Hydrant

Once upon a time, officials could open hydrants for the kids to play around in the summer. They knew how to lower the pressure so that it was not dangerous for the children. But there was always a prankster that turned it up. That was actually pretty dangerous because small kids could get hurt. Additionally, we know that it’s best to leave those for emergencies.

Sleeping In The Back Window

Nowadays, parents just give their kids iPads or other gadgets to entertain them during road trips. But that was not an option long ago. Therefore, they had to put kid music, or maybe sing ‘A Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall’. Meanwhile, some of the kids would sleep in the back window because that spot fit small children. That’s insanely dangerous.

Resume, USA, 1931

The Great Depression, a period that ranged from the stock market crash of 1929 until 1939, was the worst economic period in history. It let to the highest rate of US unemployment ever, with a rate of 24.9 percent in 1933. Some starved, and others lost their farms and even their homes. 

Motorized Surfboard

It was known as the surf scooter, an invention made popular by a major Australian newspaper in 1935, who said the following: “Surfboard riders won’t have to depend on outboard motors or speed boats to pull them over the water in the future. Below is shown a motorized surfboard scooter recently invented in Australia. The small motor in the rear furnishes the power and also sets the board at the proper angle in the water. 

The Single-Wheeled Motorcycle

This monowheel was designed by Mr.Gerdes, a Swiss engineer, in 1931. Apparently, this man in the picture above is on a trip to Spain. A monowheel is similar to a unicycle, but instead of sitting on top of the wheel, the rider sits either within it or by it. The wheel is a large ring driven by smaller wheels that press against the inner rim. Like the one pictured above, most are single-passenger vehicles, although multi-passenger models were later built. Pedal-powered monowheels already existed, and in the 20th century, they became motorized.

Motorcycle Chariot Racing

This picture goes back to Australia in 1936, and this racing sport was huge in the 20s and the 30s. It was huge in other countries like New Zealand, the USA, and some in Europe as well. It was also a nod to the ancient Roman era where people actually raced with chariots, but those were led by horses and not motorcycles. In any case, it looks pretty dangerous.

Bikes For Your Feet

These are not really roller skates, but more like their grandfather. Invented by Swede Edward Petrini, this is the Takypod, a two-wheeled bicycle that was used by pedaling rather than rolling. This picture dates all the way back to 1910. Unlike a traditional bicycle, where the rider sits, "takypoden" are attached to the feet. The takypoden moved by pumping your legs up and down.  After this invention, roller skating became a common pass time.

Motorized Roller Skates, 1961

The crazy part about this invention is that although the Motorized Roller Skate Company provided an engine that could allow you to reach speeds of up to 17 miles per hour, they never advised on a practical solution for how to stop! These skates were far from cheap, retailing at $250, which was an enormous sum in 1956. These motorized, self-propelled skates were manufactured by the Motorized Roller Skate Company in Detroit in 1956. 

Sugary Bubble Gum

Nowadays, we know exactly the amount of damage that sugary products can cause. However, gum and candy were a huge part of the 60s. Every kid was always chewing gum and blowing bubbles over their faces. Gum was not allowed in school, but children snuck it in. Obviously, cavities were probably on the rise too.

Bikes And No Helmets

We have establishments that people were a lot most relaxed about safety, but helmets are an important part of bike riding. However, a lot of our readers probably remember using their bikes without helmets, and that was extremely common. Even people with motorcycles didn’t use helmets, but now, it’s the law!

Candy Stores Were the Spot to Hang Out

Children would spend a lot of time at candy stores. We know that gum and candy were all-around long ago, and it’s also because it was pretty cheap. For just a few pennies, kids could buy anything they wanted. You could sneak it in the house in paper bags. Also, you could sodas, ice cream, egg creams, and more.

A Mobile Church-Based On Ford T With A Priest-driver, USA, 1922

In 1922, a minister turned a Ford T into a mobile church called the "Ford Chapel". So, if you saw him passing by your house, you could stop him for a quick confession! While this may seem funny, mobile churches or "churches on wheels" still exist today. Based in Botswana, a fleet of trucks travel to big cities and rural villages all across Africa, like Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, and beyond. Each truck holds the essentials for a gospel meeting, like tents, chairs, and a baptistery. 

Record-Breaking Omelet, USA, 1931

On July 24, 1931, nearly 10,000 people attended the Lewis County Farmers and Merchants Picnic at Alexander Park in Chehalis to see the world's largest omelet cooked in the world's largest frying pan. First, the skillet needed to be greased, and to do so, Thora Yeager put a giant slab of bacon under both her feet and skated around the pan. To keep her balance, she used a long spatula that would later be used to mix the eggs. Although it was initially planned to use 10,000 eggs, only 7,200 eggs fit in the pan.

No Sunscreen

Only after many years of research did we discover the dangers of too much exposure to the sun. However, the 60s were the golden era of tanning. You might even remember your mom putting suntan lotion, but it was never to protect your skin from the UV rays. Basically, everyone wanted to be baked in the sun.

Seeing the Cockpit of an Airplane

Most of us know that airport security changed significantly after 9/11, and things are much stricter now. However, long ago, things were not so uptight. Some people were even allowed to sit on the cockpit. It was like in-flight entertainment. We are definitely thankful that no one gets to do that today. Plane safety comes first!

Making Blood Promises

Some younger readers might think that this sounds crazy, but long ago, friendships were a bit weirder. If two friends wanted to promise something – like loyalty or keeping a secret –they would prick their fingers and press them together. It was like an ancient blood oath. Now, we know that diseases can spread like that.  

Hats of the Qing Dynasty

The official hats of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) were very different from those of previous dynasties. Any military or political personnel above the rank of bailiff wore a kind of weft hat. There are two different types of hats: caps and top hats. Top hats, which are also called big hats, are designed with the weather conditions of summer or winter in mind.

Chasing Trucks

Aside from the fact that chasing a car is always dangerous, some trucks back then would be used to spray pesticides. However, children had so much fun chasing after these vehicles because no one was told how hazardous these chemicals were. Kids were just concerned with the fog and the nice smell. It was a game for them.

Playing Outside

Even Millenials might remember what it was like to go outside and have fun with your friends. It was a time before the internet and even most electronic gadgets. Some of us had the early versions of the Gameboy, but that’s it. It was much better to go crazy with the neighborhood kids. This picture is from Great Britain, circa 1973.

Kids in an Empty House

In the 60s, a lot more mothers started entering the workforce. So, children were not supervised all the time like those in the 50s. This new generation had to come home from school on their own and did their thing. Additionally, if you had an older brother or sister, your parents were not even worried about rushing home.

Trampolines Did Not Have Nets

Although we can still buy some trampolines without nets, there was no other option long ago. There are a bunch of risks regarding trampolines without them, though. Kids can suffer many injuries such as sprains or even dangerous head wounds. Kids would climb in these things at the local park and suffer the consequences.

Pregnant Women Smoked and Drank

From television shows and movies, most of us know that pregnant women did anything they wanted because no one knew some things could be dangerous for the fetus. In fact, some cigarettes were even advertised for pregnant women. Some Baby Boomers might even remember their mother smoking while she carried their sibling.

House On Wheels

This how a house on the wheel looked in 1926, and it’s interesting that it literally looks like a real house. Nowadays, most people have a truck that is renovated on the inside to seem like a house. Meanwhile, a lot more people are moving to tiny houses – some of them with wheels – because they are much for affordable and better for sustainability.

Fake Nylon, London, 1941

Due to WWI, nylon manufacturer DuPont started producing nylon parachutes, cords, and rope instead of stocking, leading to a stocking black market. As wartime propaganda was rampant, with the government telling women to "Make Do and Mend", which became the motto, they had to find another way to "wear" stockings. So, this led to women painting dark stripes on the bag of their legs to make it look like stocking seems. To do so, gravy browning was often used, and the look was called "Glamor Hose".

Men with Sound Finders

These devices were used to hear incoming planes or other aerial attacks, and they date back to 1914. They might look weird, but those gadgets probably worked because sonar is effective. Basically, sounds are carried in waves, and you can detect it. Meanwhile, you can also use it to navigate, which is what bats do.

Venetian Blind Sunglasses

According to an advert for the shades: ‘Tiny Venetian blinds are built into the top of a new type of sun goggles to shade the eyes from direct sun glare. The Venetian-like structure is an integral part of the lenses, formed by deep rectangular indentations in the lens material which are then filled with opaque liquid. While the uncolored lenses are about ninety-eight percent transparent, the upper part intercepts overhead sun rays and casts a shadow on the eyes. In one type, the “blinds” are made of thin, flat wires.’ 

The Baby Dangler

It's not hard to see the flaws in this design. We wonder how many babies were injured before the product was deemed a failure. Sometimes, you just have to leave the baby behind, for his own sake. Well, at least mom and dad had equal opportunity to carry the baby. Invented by a hockey player in 1937, the idea was to allow parents to practice ice skating along with their little ones.

An Oxygen Machine

This image goes back to the 1930s in the United States. We can see a kid in an oxygen device, and it might have been one of the early versions of the modern kind. It’s hard to say what disease this kid had, but his immune system might have been compromised. Technology has been through so many changes throughout the years.

An Automated Caveman

This image shows employees from Walt Disney Studios making an automated caveman for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. It appeared in Popular Science. We know how amazing Disney has become at animatronics, especially if you take a ride at their newest attractions at Disneyland or Disney World. These people could truly make magic.

Cameras Mounted On Pigeons 

During WWII, pigeons would carry these cameras to help armies with their aerial reconnaissance. It's pretty cute if you think about it, but isn't that heavy for a little pigeon? Pigeon photography was invented way before WWII, in 1907, by German apothecary Julis Neubronner. He also used the birds to deliver medication. He would fit a pigeon with an aluminum breast harness to which he would attach a lightweight time-delayed miniature camera. The inventor's initial patent was rejected, but in 1908, he produced authenticated photos taken by the pigeons, and he was granted the patent.

Fat Jokes

There were a bunch of things allowed long ago that would definitely be frowned upon today. Comedy is a major issue. A lot of it was based on insulting others. “Fat shaming” was a huge thing, and unfortunately, some kids had to grow up being bullied over their weight. Nowadays, there are campaigns against bullying.

The Family Bicycle Equipped With A Sewing Machine 

Designed by Charles Steinlauf, this bike first made an appearance in Chicago in the 1930s. Steinlauf was known for building strange inventions around the streets of Chicago, no matter how impractical. This design was known as the "Goofybike". We truly wonder why this product didn't take off in the commercial space.

Old-Fashioned Hair Dryers

We know what you're thinking - these do not look like hairdryers at all. Well, they actually were. To use them, you would have to boil water and wrap your hair around them. The instructions say: "Fill it with boiling water and it dries the hair after washing in a few minutes".  It sounds pretty safe, right? The first one was invented in 1890 by French stylist Alexander F.Godefroy, and it consisted of a metal bonnet attached to the chimney pipe of a gas stove, which you would then sit under.

Diphtheria Takes a Whole Family

We are also thankful for modern medicine, which has basically stopped a lot of dangerous diseases. In the early 20th century, a lot of people simply died of diphtheria like this family. The sign on the left reads: “In memory of L. H. Larssen and his wife Emilie’s 5 children who died of diphtheria in 1903.” This illness seems like a common cold at first, but then, it’s a nightmare.

Fakir On Nails

This picture goes back to 1907 in India. A bed of nails is basically a slab of wood with a bunch of nails pointing upwards, and it might seem dangerous to lying on it. However, the weight of a person is distributed evenly; so there should be no danger. Herbert Ponting took this photograph. A fakir is basically a religious vagabond.

Not The Best Car Seats or Seat Belts

Long ago, people did not the dangers of having a kid in the passenger seat without a seatbelt. The safety measure was hoping that the driver – mom or dad – would through their arm to protect the kid. Babies had the most ridiculous baby seats, but they were also in the front seat next to their mother. It wasn’t until the 70s that car seat regulations started appearing.

Childproofing Was Not a Thing

Parents did not think they needed to childproof anything. Basically, they took the baby out of the crib into a playpen. That’s it. However, once a kid started crawling, he could do whatever he wanted around the house. Mothers would let them play with pots, pans, and anything they encountered without worrying. Some even got into the cleaning products under the sink.

Wishing Tree In Scotland

It may be difficult to tell what this is at first glance; in the same way that we use wishing wells, people placed coins in the trunk, and with time, the tree grew over it. How artistic is that! We hope it didn't bother the tree, though. Who says money doesn't grow on trees? The coins are placed into tree trunks using stones by people hoping it will bring them good luck and fortune. This fantastic phenomenon has been going on for centuries, with coins buried deep in their bark with time.

Physical Punishment From Nuns

People who attended Catholic school probably know a lot of physical punishment. Their discipline techniques were definitely not what is expected today. No teacher today can touch a child or they would get fired. However, nuns who were the professors at Catholic schools were basically given carte-blanche long ago.

The Egg Cuber

The egg cuber allows you to transform eggs into a square. “Put a round egg in … and get a square egg out!”, boasts the box. Geometrically, this is wrong on both counts, as we’re talking about ovals and cubes rather than circles and squares, but there’s no point being pedantegg. This little machine looks like a medieval torture device to terrify hens. The egg is squashed down then chilled under cold water rapidly before the egg is ready. But what's the point? Well, for one, it could fit easier in sandwiches.

Hair Straightening In The 1960s

In the 1960s, women sometimes used clothing irons to straighten their hair. At the time, the likes of Cher and the hippie movement promoted straight hair, and it became extremely popular. Using a regular clothes iron to straighten hair might seem crazy, but with the right technique, it is the most efficient and long-lasting way to straighten even the curliest and thickest hair. This technique might seem ancient, but it is still used today.


You might have watched an old movie based on the 70s or earlier and thought that hitchhiking was the craziest and most dangerous thing anyone could go. However, people in those times did it a lot, especially young adults, hippies, and even some teenagers. You just had to raise your thumb to get a ride, and most of the time, it was pretty safe.

Going to Your Friend’s House

Similarly, children would often go to their friends’ houses without a problem. It seems that these days, people schedule playdates, but long ago, the kid showed up at the door. This was not a problem because your friends were basically your neighbors too. But nowadays, it’s considered rude not to announce yourself.

The Nanny in the 19th Century

Everyone knows how slavery impacted the world, especially America, since its institution. Additionally, once slavery was abolished in the United States, there was still a huge divide between African Americans and white citizens. As we have seen in several movies such as ‘The Help’, colored women cared for the children of their white employers.

Going to the Beach

Similarly, when families went to the beach, the children were just allowed in the water without much supervision. The adults were probably setting up the umbrella and the chairs, while the kids just went crazy and did whatever they wanted. The only instruction they were given was maybe “stay where I can see you”. Lifeguards did all the heavy lifting.

Mouse Scaring Machine That Made Cat Noises

Built in 1963, the Cat-Mew machine is a mechanical cat that has the ability to meow ten times a minute, and its eyes light up every time. The Japanese device, a solution to the mice plague, is aimed at scaring rats and mice. Nowadays, there are better ways to humanely catch mice, such as no-kill traps that you can easily make at home. In 1963, mouse traps already existed, as they were invented in 1894. However, assuming that the Cat-Mew works and keeps mice away, it is a better solution as it doesn't kill the poor creatures.

Playing Without Supervision

Some parents might argue that you don’t need to watch your kids all the time. However, even when you live in a nice neighborhood, you don’t know what could happen. It’s better if there is, at least, one adult watching the kids. However, most children played around outside all day, and their mothers called them when dinner was ready.

Smoking Was the Best

Cigarettes were basically ubiquitous. You could buy them everywhere, and they were part of everyone’s daily life. Additionally, ads would even encourage people to smoke, deeming it “healthy”. Advertisements also featured children and their parents playing together. When teens started smoking, they were considered mature. Kids could even buy their parents cigarettes without a problem.

Stickball and More Games

If you grew up in the city, you probably did not have a bunch of parks or screen areas around. However, children still played a lot. The best games were stickball, street hockey, Ringolevio, Marco Polo, and even hide-and-seek. Some kids even played with marbles and manhole covers. Girls usually jumped hopscotch after drawing it with chalk on the asphalt. You just had to be careful of cars.

Moto-Rickshaw with a Female Driver

This was around the 1920s, and it’s a bit weird seeing a woman driving back them. Perhaps women had to start working because most of the men were busy in the army. Additionally, in some countries like Indian, there is a movement called the Pink Rickshaw, where female passengers can be driven by women to avoid harassment.

Not the Best Cribs

It seems that doctors in the 60s told mothers to let their babies sleep on top of them. That’s not the greatest idea. Furthermore, cribs were not as safe as they are today. They had weird drop rails, slats where a baby could easily get stuck, and even featured some choking hazards. Unfortunately, several children suffered injuries before they changed that.  

Spoon Used To Feed Bears

Although there is very little information about this invention, apparently, it was used to feed bears. Wait - why would anyone ever have to feed a bear? Is this a pet bear that we're talking about, or a bear in the wild? Feeding the animals is fun and all until you become the food yourself! 

People Showing Off Their Tattoos

This picture was taken in France in the 1950s during an amateur tattoo artist contest. The art form goes back thousands of years. Experts even found that some mummies with tattoos on their skin. The oldest tattoo ever discovered dates back to 3370 BC and 3100 BC. It was on the mummified body of Otzi the Iceman, which was found in September 1991.

Going to School Alone

Most parents take their kids to school nowadays, or at least until they reach high school. However, decades ago, they would just send their first-graders on their way. The kids would return home on their own as well. Some were lucky if they got to walk with their friends. But the point is that parents were not concerned.


Reddi-Bacon was pre-cooked bacon packaged with absorbent paper in between two sheets of foil. Each packet included four slices that were made to go in the toaster. It would take only a minute and a half to be ready. Unfortunately, it had some issues with package leaking. Although a patent was filed, and marketing for the product begun, Reddi-Bacon never made it passed test markets and the product was pulled.

Spanking and More

We have already learned that Catholic schools were harsh, but kids also received physical punishment at home. You did not want to anger your parents because they were not afraid of smacking your head or spanking. Some would even go as far as using a belt. It took a long time to discover that this did not work effectively.

A Massive Automatic Hairdryer

Aren't we glad to live in the 20th century! In 1920, this is how women dried their hair. This is what I imagine vintage aliens would use to telepathically read our thoughts. Also, it looks like four elephant trunks are blowing air on this woman's face. Whatever does the job though, right? Well, it did, but at one's own risk. It wasn't until the 70s that safety regulations were put in place for hair dryers. Today, with innovative inventions like the cordless hairdryer, this device looks absolutely cumbersome and impractical.

We cannot believe people actually used these, although they were probably the inspiration for some of our most common modern items. Let us know which one was the craziest in your opinion. If you liked this article, share it with your friends who love weird things. See you next time!

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