by Tyler Cowen
on September 30, 2009 at 1:57 pm
Curved barrel machine gun (1953).
At the link you'll find many other silly ideas. Might the Finnish portable sauna someday make a comeback? #7 is extremely silly, as are some of the others.
For the pointer I thank The Browser.
The illuminated tires are awesome!
I don’t think the Laryngaphone is that stupid. Military and police forces use the same technology for the same purpose. I would use a throat microphone for my cellphone if there was one available. Background noise can be a big problem.
It’s not a former market in anything; it’s a modern-day market in repurposed Life magazine content, dug out of the archives and served up on the Internet with humorous blurbs and a side order of banner ads. Someone’s thinking creatively, though I suspect not very lucratively.
I am doubtful whether #1 (curved machine gun) and #7 (laryngaphone) could work as advertisted. (The bullet would loose far too much energy in the curve. And the sounds of human speech are formed by the mouth as well as the lyranx.) But if they did work, they could be quite useful. In trench warfare, it can be tacticly useful to shoot indistriminately from a safe location. And in a loud environment such as a ship’s engine room or near a printing press, it would be great to be able to have a phone conversation without picking up ambient noise. Kudos to these inventors for at least trying to solve such problems.
The M3 SMG with the curved barrel is from the Second World War, and isn’t nearly as stupid as the Life writeup makes it seem.
The idea was for tank crews to use it to get hostile infantry off the tank, while remaining inside; something you can’t really do with a normal gun… and one where fine aim is not required, given the ranges involved (ie, under two yards).
I don’t know that it was very practical, but it’s not obviously stupid for its primary intended task.
Speaking of the laryngaphone, this was the standard communication microphone for WWII US aircraft.
Those illuminated tyres are going to turn up on the next modified honda that you see.
I am no gun professional, but I can imagine that curved barrel could be *very* useful in close combat like the ones in Fallujah, Grozny etc.
If the bullet was propelled by electromagnets along the barrel instead of gunpowder explosion, I can even imagine that the barrel could be flexible.
Although I’m not aware of any illuminated tires, you can get leds for your bike wheels from Monkey Eletric, and you can get “pimpstars” for your car from Custom Wheel:
The curved barrel gun was tested and used by Germans in WWII, but the one shown is stupid. The barrel is screwed onto a 45 caliber “grease gun” and it has relatively low velocity. The bullet will turn but it will be much deformed. They should’ve done a curved shotgun barrel.
Some of these ideas weren’t dumb, just ahead of their time. “Ha, ha, look at the goof with the miniTV.” Yes, and then look at all the people watching movies on their iPods. The illuminated wheels, even the robot shoot-out, exist in some form today.
I take exception to the portable sauna, which are still manufactured and used for detox; and Honegar (AKA oxymel). Throw in some garlic and you’ve got a wonderful home remedy, albeit a gross one.
I wonder if there’s a version of the aphorism “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” that addresses all of the intermediate cases.
Comments on this entry are closed.
Previous post: Time is money
Next post: How did the Garn-St. Germain act matter?
Email Tyler Cowen
Follow Tyler on Twitter
Email Alex Tabarrok
Follow Alex on Twitter
Subscribe in a reader
Follow Us on Twitter
Marginal Revolution on Twitter Counter.com
Get smart with the Thesis WordPress Theme from DIYthemes.