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I was browsing through some old patent drawings from the National Archives (as one does) and I couldn’t help noticing that a lot of them were for safety devices. Since this is a safety-related blog, and since we haven’t done an old-fashioned Throwback Thursday post for a while, I figured I’d share some with you.

Poison Prevention

When a picture of a skull-and-crossbones isn’t enough, this bottle for holding poison comes complete with sharp spikes to deter people from grabbing it unless they really, really need to.

Drowning Prevention

This hat is intended to keep people from drowning, although it might work best if one’s head already happens to be a balloon.

Fire Escape

This intricate system of ropes and pulleys would allow people to be lowered to the ground during a fire. It’s not a bad idea (at least in theory–I’m not entirely clear on how it works), but I love the look on this guy’s face. He’s super nonchalant, like he escapes from fires every day and is getting really bored with it now.

Sports Safety

It’s worth remembering that once upon a time, catchers didn’t wear gear at all, so even though this isn’t as sleek as what catchers of today wear, it’s better than nothing, I guess. Plus, this face-and-chest-protector, which looks like a miniature prison, would probably deter collisions at the plate because I don’t know who’d want to run into that.

Transportation Comfort

Have you seen those hammocks you’re supposed to attach to yourself and to your airplane tray table before putting your baby inside? (Note: CarseatBlog does not recommend using those. Babies belong in car seats on a plane.) Well, this invention reminds me of that…only it’s for adults! And you could use it on so many different kinds of transportation! Just attach part of it to your seat, part to the seat in front of you, then hoist yourself up and go to sleep.

Handsfree Phone

Okay, this isn’t really a safety thing since people in 1882 wouldn’t have been using their phones while driving. But still, I like this early “Bluetooth” idea, even if it’s not completely wireless.

Creepy Baby

This isn’t safety related at all, but I felt like I should include it anyway.

Lest it seem that I’m making fun of any of these ideas (and okay, I am, but just a little), I do recognize that every safety device we have today came from somewhere, usually with roots in the distant past. Ideas and products evolve over time, and I give each of these inventors credit for coming up with solutions to problems of their day, and probably doing a better job than I could have. I sort of hope that 100 years from now, someone will be laughing at how ridiculous our safety products are, because that would mean they’ve gotten a lot better.