During the beginning of invention of electric appliances, they experimented with electric tablecloths. You could basically plug in an outlet anywhere on the table and the lightbulb would light up. Only downside was that you couldn’t spill any liquids on it.
In 1898, Nikola Tesla tricked an entire crowd into believing they could control a boat by shouting commands – in fact he invented Radio Control and piloted the boat himself.
In the 1920’s newly hired engineers at General Electric would be told, as a joke, to develop a frosted lightbulb. The experienced engineers believed this to be impossible. In 1925, newly hired Marvin Pipkin got the assignment not realizing it was a joke and succeeded.
The first patent for an electronic cigarette was already filed in 1963, but inventor Herbert Gilbert never found a company willing to mass-produce his invention. His device works the same way as modern e-cigarettes, “containing a liquid that was warmed by a battery-powered device, creating a vapor that a person inhaled”.
The jacuzzi was invented by Candido Jacuzzi to provide pain relief for his 15-month-old son, Kenny Jacuzzi, who was born with rheumatoid arthritis.
The man who patented the ouija board has a ouija board headstone.
Willem Kolff created the first dialysis machine in the Netherlands during WWII. Lacking materials, he used sausage casings, tin cans, a washing machine, and salt water. He also saved more than 800 people from the Nazis by hiding them in his hospital. And he later invented the artificial heart.
In 1936 August Dvorak invented a ‘perfect keyboard’ which is way more efficient than regular keyboards as it requires less finger motion and reduces errors compared to the standard QWERTY keyboard arrangement.