5 Historical Inventions That Teach Us The Importance Of Thinking Outside The Box

Every invention begins with some creative spark in the mind that is fueled by a desire to improve the lives of others. While the following inventions were a bit too ambitious to become staples in everyday life, they still represent the importance of being innovative and pushing the boundaries of the human imagination:

#1 Comfort Mowers

The original lawnmower was invented in 1827 by an English man named Edwin Budding. He got the idea after seeing a contraption in a cloth mill that had blades within a cylindrical apparatus, which was used to trim the fringed edges of cloth. Many tried to make incremental improvements to his design, even going as far as to make them almost like luxury vehicles. Eventually, the designs were reigned back in to prioritize the mower’s initial purpose of convenience.

#2 Family fallout shelters

Fallout shelters were clearly in demand during the World Wars. While governments were looking to build them for the public, some families looked to have ones built in their own homes. One American family, the Andersons, purchased a family fallout shelter from realtor J.L. Haverstock, who began selling them as a sideline in 1955. The Andersons kept the shelter throughout the Cuban missile crisis, during which the hydrogen bomb was being developed.

#3 Jetpacks

As kids, most of us dream of one day experiencing a jetpack flight. Justin Capra, a Romanian inventor in the 1950s, wanted to make that dream a reality. He claimed to have built the world’s first-ever jetpack; however, due to a lack of credible evidence, it’s hard to say whether he is the true inventor of such. Around the same time, a company called Bell Aerosystems was able to achieve untethered flights with an invention they called the rocket belt. Needless to say, it seems that people’s imaginations at the time were focused on getting high off the ground.

#4 Rocket Bikes

Before motorcycles, there were rocket bikes. Even back in 1863, the need for speed was in full effect. A man named Adam Opel ran a company that built primarily sewing machines and bicycles. At some point, his 21-year-old grandson Fritz had the crazy idea to put rockets on the back of one of the bikes, just to see what would happen. Such was the birth of the rocket bike—Fritz managed to land a speed record with six booster rockets on his bike. The rocket bike was dubbed “The Monster.”

#5 Sun-Tan Dispenser

Back in the day, before we discovered its connection to skin cancer, tanning was all the rage. A woman named Trisha Buss decided to capitalize on the fad by inventing a Sun-Tan dispenser. For 10 cents, the user could apply a 30-second spray of lotion on his or her body. The idea was to have these machines stationed at every local beach. Buss’s invention was featured at the Annual Vending Machine Convention in Chicago in 1949.

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