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85 Incredible Technologies From The Past That Look Like Something Out Of This World Today

Welcome to the odd and wonderful world of giant mechanical tricycles and orgone accumulators. This is not some fantasy content, but some very serious technologies from the past. ...

Twenty years ago, you would have been the coolest kid on the block for carrying a Nokia 3310. But time flies and technological innovation accelerates along with it. Today, we live in a world ruled by touch screens, face recognition, and machine learning, so imagine what the technology was like a century ago, or two.

In order to find out, we’re taking you on a historical roller coaster to see what ancient technologies defined the future a hundred years ago. From motorized roller-skate salesmen in 1961, aka the proud ancestors of today’s hoverboards, to giant mechanical tricycles from 1896 and orgone accumulators of the ’50s, these are some of the most interesting retro-historical devices.

Some were truly incredible, others look kinda cool, and the rest… make you think “what on earth were they thinking?”

#1 Kodak K-24 Camera, Used For Aerial Photography During Ww2 By The Americans

Image credits: reddit.com

#2 In 1955, This Tiny Electric Narrow Gauge Train Was Installed In New York’s Holland Tunnel To Monitor Traffic Speed

Image credits: reddit.com

#3 The World’s Oldest Surviving Diving Suit: The Old Gentleman, From 1860

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A decade ago, smartphones didn’t exist, while three decades ago, nobody had a computer in their home. Just let this sink in for a little. It feels like technology is accelerating at an immense pace.

According to Ray Kurzweil and his book “The Singularity Is Near,” technology’s quickening pace is not just a feeling, but actually real. It turns out, “the pace of technological progress—especially information technology—speeds up exponentially over time because there is a common force driving it forward.”

In other words, every generation of technology improves over the last as it achieves some kind of rate of progress.

#4 Motorized Roller-Skate Salesman In California, 1961

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#5 The ‘Isolator’ , By Hugo Gernsback: A Helmet For Insulating The Senses Against Distraction; From The Journal Science And Invention, Vol. 13, No. 3, July 1925

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#6 A British Couple Sleeps Inside A “Morrison Shelter” Used As Protection From Collapsing Homes During The Wwii ‘Blitz’ Bombing Raids… March 1941

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When taking two separate innovations from different eras, from the birth of the first modern car in 1886 to the beginning of the self-driving car era in 2012, every step of progress speeds up from one version to the next.

The Singularity Hub explains that the more effective technology is, the more attention it receives, and the more efficient flow of new resources it has. “Increased R&D budgets, recruiting top talent, etc. are directed to further improving the technology.”

With that in mind, we can suspect that technological innovation will look very different in a couple of decades’ time from now. It may not be the flying cars as we’ve seen in retro-futuristic movies, but it may well be an AI friend who talks to you like a real person. Oh, wait, we don’t need to wait that long, since that already exists.

#7 Robo-Vac, A Self-Proppeled Vacuum Cleaner Part Of Whirlpool’s Miracle Kitchen Of The Future, A Display At The 1959 American National Exhibition In Moscow, 1959

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#8 300 Year Old Library Tool That Enabled A Researcher To Have Seven Books Open At Once, Yet Conveniently Nearby (Palafoxiana Library, Puebla)

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#9 A Rail Zeppelin And A Steam Train Near The Railway Platform. Berlin, Germany, 1931

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#10 This ‘Device’ That Was Created Aiming To Develop Leg Muscles

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#11 TV Glasses Decades Before Google Glass, 1960s

#12 A Man With A Punt Gun, A Type Of Large Shotgun Used For Duck Hunting. It Could Kill Over 50 Birds At Once And Was Banned In The Late 1860s

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#13 The Hindenburg Takes Shape, 1932

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#14 Motorola Vice President John F. Mitchell Showing Off The Dynatac Portable Radio Telephone In New York City In 1973

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#15 Orgone Accumulator, A Device Sold In The 1950s To Allow A Person Sitting Inside To Attract Orgone, A Massless ‘Healing Energy’. The Fda Noted That One Purchaser, A College Professor, Knew It Was “Phony” But Found It “Helpful Because His Wife Sat Quietly In It For Four Hours Every Day.”

Image credits: reddit.com

#16 1911: Chester Mcduffee And His Ads Diving Suit, Aluminum Alloy Weighing 485 Lbs/200 Kg

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#17 The Antarctic Snow Cruiser On The Drive Towards The Ship That Would Take It South To The Pole. The Vehicle Provided Living Space And Laboratories To Five Scientists. Unfortunately, It Was Found To Have No Traction On Snow Unless Driven In Reverse And Was Eventually Abandoned. 1939

Image credits: reddit.com

#18 Giant Mechanical Tricycles By The Boston Woven Hose And Rubber Company, 1896

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#19 One-Wheel Motorcycle, Germany, 1925

Image credits: Nationaal Archief

#20 Tsar Tank (Tank Lebedenko), 1915

Image credits: wikimedia

#21 Austro-Hungarian Tail Gunner Armed With Ten Mauser C96 Handguns, Wwi

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#22 The Old “Telefontornet” Telephone Tower In Stockholm, Sweden, With Approximately 5,500 Telephone Lines C. 1890

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#23 Philco Predicta Television From The Late 1950s

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#24 Soviet Peasants Listen To The Radio For The First Time, 1928

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#25 Using A Two-Horn Listening Device At Bolling Field In Washington, D.c., In 1921 Before The Invention Of Radar, To Listen For Distant Aircraft

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#26 Steam Locomotive On A Cable Car, Crossing The Canyon Of The Rio Grande River In New Mexico, USA, In 1915

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#27 Portable TV, 1967

#28 The Scalp Molester – A Massager Made Up Of 480 Articifical Fingers

#29 Bikes For Your Feet

#30 Jay Ohrberg’s ‘Double Wide’ Limousine. Built By The Man Who Also Created The ‘American Dream’ Superlimo

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#31 Ford Model T With Optional High Water Kit Sold By Trilacoochee Ford In Green Swamp Florida.

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#32 FBI’s Fingerprint Files, 1944.

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#33 The Open Side View Of An Old Calculator

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#34 350 Year Old Pocket Watch Carved From A Single Colombian Emerald

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#35 A Look Into The Future Or A Blast From The Past? Gas Resistant Pram From 1938, Ww2.

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#36 Amphibious Bicycle, This Land-And-Water Bike Can Carry A Load Of 120 Pounds; Paris, 1932

Image credits: Nationaal Archief

#37 A Box That Blasted Your Head With Ultraviolet Rays In Hopes Of Curing Diseases

#38 Giant Italian Gun Captured By Austro-Hungarians During Caporetto Breakthrough, November 1917 [colorized]

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#39 1972 Maserati Boomerang – Steering Wheel

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#40 The First Public Demonstration Of A Computer Mouse, Graphical User Interface, Windowed Computing, Hypertext And Word Processing, 1968

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#41 Pilots Of American 8th Bomber Command Wearing High Altitude Oxygen Masks And Flight Goggles, 1942

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#42 Forging Press In The Krupp Factory, Essen, Germany, 1928

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#43 American Built Tank Called “America”, Designed By Professor E.f. Miller Of The Massachusetts Institute Of Technology. 1918

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#44 A Thin TV Screen (Only 4 Inches Thick) With An Automatic Timing Device To Record TV Programs For Later Viewing Is The Wave Of The Future As Shown At The Home Furnishings Market In Chicago, Illinois, On June 21, 1961

Image credits: reddit.com

#45 A 5mb Hard Disk Drive Being Loaded Onto A Plane, In 1956

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#46 So Ahead Of Its Time

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#47 Polish Policeman In Full Assault Gear, 1934

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#48 This Car Is A French ‘Delahaye 175s Roadster’, Introduced At The Paris Motor Show In 1949. Only One Was Ever Made. It Was Recently Sold At Auction For Around Five Million Dollars.

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#49 The World’s 1st Digital Image, 1957

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#50 The New York Central Streamliner ‘Mercury’ Passes Through New York City Hall, 1936

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#51 The Hull Of A Hughes Hercules, The Largest Flying Boat Ever Built, Owner Of The Largest Wingspan Of Any Aircraft That Has Ever Flown Under Construction, 1945

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#52 Royal Flying Corps Pilot Cadet Practices Deflection Shooting From A Moving Platform Installed On Rails And Launched At High Speed, In Egypt, July 17th, 1918

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#53 Morris And Salom Electrobats In Front Of The Old Metropolitan Opera House On Manhattan’s 39th Street In 1898. The Electrobats Are Electric Battery-Powered Cars That Served As Early Taxis In NYC

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#54 Transportation Technology Incorporated People Mover. January 1971

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#55 The Sea Shadow – An Experimental Stealth Ship Built For The Us Navy To Test New Technologies For Surface Ships. 1980s

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#56 Multi-Bladed Folding Knife Made In Germany Ca. 1880 For John S. Holler, Cutlery Merchant, New York City. It Can Kill In 100 Different Ways, Including A Pistol On The Upper Left Side

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#57 Extensible Caravan. Built By An Unknown French Engineer In 1934

Image credits: Nationaal Archief

#58 Concorde’s Cockpit – One Of The Most Complex Cockpits In History.

Image credits: reddit.com

#59 New Zealanders Posing With World’s First Anti-Tank Rifle, German “Tankgewehr M1918”, Grévillers, August 25th, 1918

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#60 [1200×926][the Year Of 1918] These Photos Of German U-Boat, After Which She Was Dismantled And Sold As Scrap

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#61 Testing Early Television Technology, New York, 1959

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#62 The World’s First Nuclear Ramjet Engine, “Tory-Iia,” Is Being Readied For Testing In 1961 As Part Of Project Pluto. The Rise Of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Technology Reduced The Need For Such A Complex Thrust Mechanism And The Project Was Eventually Canceled

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#63 During World War II, Almost Every Motorized Vehicle In Continental Europe Was Converted To Use Firewood As Fuel. The Imbert Gasification Generator Was Mass Produced From 1931 On

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#64 This Is The First Computer Mouse Invented By Douglas Carl Engelbart. It Was A Wooden Box With Only One Button

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#65 A Modern Smart Phone On A Vintage Telephone Operator Booth From A Small Town Of A Third World Country

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#66 All-Terrain Car, This All-Terrain Car Can Descend Slopes Up To 65 Degrees; England, 1936

Image credits: Nationaal Archief

#67 Radio Stroller, Stroller Equipped With A Radio, Including Antenna And Loudspeaker, To Keep The Baby Quiet; USA, 1921

Image credits: Nationaal Archief

#68 Early Gps. Yesteryear’s Tomtom, A Rolling Key Map That Passes Through The Screen In A Tempo Determined By The Speed Of The Car; 1932

Image credits: Nationaal Archief

#69 Robot Policeman, 1967

#70 This Old Thermostat Tells What Temp To Use By A Mercury Sensor

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#71 Futuristic Wwii German Ho-229 Jet Fighter Prototype. 1940s

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#72 The Old “Telefontornet” Telephone Tower In Stockholm, Sweden, With Approximately 5,500 Telephone Lines C. 1890

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#73 Helen, An American Indian Telephone And Switchboard Operator, Montana, 1925

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#74 Dr. Guy Brewster’s Bullet-Proof Armor, 1917

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#75 A Hungarian Soldier With A Swiss Solothurn S18/1000 Anti-Tank Rifle. Southern Soviet Union, 1941-1942

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#76 Judy Sullivan, Lead Engineer For The Apollo 11 Biomedical System, 1969

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#77 People Wearing Earbuds Listening To A Phonograph With For The First Time During A Cattle Show In Tonstad, Norway, C. 1890’s

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#78 Fowler Steam Engine 19th Century Australia

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#79 Dive Suit From 1878, Housed At The Maritime Museum In Paris

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#80 The British Using Inflatable Dummy Tanks To Assert Presence On The Battlefield In Ww2

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#81 The Armor Of A 19-Year-Old Antonie Fraveau, A French Soldier Who Died In The Battle Of Waterloo In 1815 With A Cannonball

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#82 Computers Used To Be Much Larger Than They Are Now. This Photo Testifies To This. It’s Just 1 Gb In 1981

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#83 Mimeograph

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#84 Israel’s Weizac At The Weizmann Institute, One Of The World’s First Computers

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#85 Supertrain, The Failed TV Series That Bankrupted Nbc. This Model Cost Over $500,000

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