Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ingenious Gadgets book challenges you to guess the purpose of 100 obscure contraptions from the past

book cover for Ingenious Gadgets

Over the course of 224 pages, author Maurice Collins challenges the reader to guess the purpose of 100 mysterious gadgets from the past. A brief description on page accompanies a large color photograph of the strange, silly, and clever contraptions on the adjoining page. Chapters cover gadgets for:

  • The Working Day
  • Domestic Economy
  • The Stuff of Life
  • Out and About
  • Body and Soul

From the book description:

Marvel at the ingenuity of the cuff holder which, as legend has it, was used by cardsharps at the poker table to hide the ace up their sleeves; find out how to make the perfect camping cuppa 1920s style; and decide whether the 1920s electric comb really could prevent hair loss. If you thought that phone cameras were a great invention find out more about the watch camera of the 1900s; if you've always found shaving too taxing, there is an automatic shaving cream filler and brush in the collection which allowed you to save time in that early morning rush to work - who knows why this never took off?

One of my favorite weekend pastimes is hunting around antique stores searching for old tools and other items. Trying to figure out the purpose of mysterious items is also a big part of the fun. It's interesting to see the huge number of ideas that have been brought to market over the years, as well as which ones never really took off. This book is like wandering through one of those antique stores, but you can do it from the comfort of your living room or nearest coffee shop. This book makes a nice gift for the gadget lover and history buff.

Here is where you can get Ingenious Gadgets: Guess the Obscure Purpose of Over 100 Eccentric Contraptions

Here is Maurice Collins's associated web site: Victorian Gadgets.com

[ Thanks Falk! ]


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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the old show called "The Liars Club". There would be 2 contestants competing against each other. The host of the show would bring out some strange object, and give it to a panel of 3 or 4 celebrities. Each celebrity would give a description and function of the object, with only one of them giving the true answer. The contestants would have to guess which celebrity is telling the truth. I had lots of fun trying to guess what the object is. The show was on at least 30 years ago....Bruce

January 27, 2013 at 7:32 PM  
Anonymous Velly@Cheap Gadgets said...

One of my favorite weekend pastimes is hunting around antique stores searching for old tools and other items. Trying to figure out the purpose of mysterious items is also a big part of the fun.

July 20, 2013 at 6:12 AM  
Blogger Dug North said...

Bruce, do you happen to get the Lee Valley Tools online Newletter? They post a mystery tool every issue and it's up to the readers to figure out what the object is.

Velly, I do the same thing! I love it. It's amazing the number of artifacts humans have created in a relatively short span of time. It's also fascinating to see what seem to be very useful things which never really caught on.

July 20, 2013 at 10:24 AM  

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