16 Bizarre Inventions From The Victorian Era

If you think that organs and bones crushing corsets were the most bizarre creation of the Victorian era, you could not be more wrong. Victorians have come up with its fair share of weird inventions. Even though this era was a long period of peace and prosperity, science was going through a weird phase.

Below are 16 bizarre inventions from the Victorian era, some useful, and some… not so much.

1. THE TRICK PLEDGE ALTAR

Oh, those Victorians! They did love a practical joke. And what could be funnier than encouraging a friend to make a pledge at your new home altar… only for him to be surprised by the abrupt appearance of a human skeleton – which spits scalding water into his face!?

h/t: vintag.es

2. FENCE CYCLE

Sometimes walking the length of a fence can be just too much like hard work. If only there were some way to take the effort out of it. Well… there almost was, as demonstrated here by none other than Vincent Van Gogh – the Scarlet Pimpernel.

3. THE WIRELESS TRICK TELEPHONE

We’re back to the pranks again. “Hell-o, I hear you calling me!” says your innocent victim – only for the bottom of the phone to explode unexpectedly, and for his hand and face to be showered with broiling turps.

4. THE “NIAGARA” WAVE & ROCKING BATH

The makers of the “Niagara” wave and rocking bath claim that there will be ABSOLUTELY no water splashing in the room, as you rock and thrash in order to generate the FULLEST ILLUSION of a sea or river bath. Maybe not… but that won’t stop your family from having you carted off to Bedlam.

5. MULTI-PURPOSE CANE

This, the Swiss Army Knife of canes, caters for all the gentlemanly pastimes: catching butterflies, sheltering from the rain, smoking opium, playing the flute, and measuring a horse. Well… all the gentlemanly pastimes… bar one.

6. INVISIBLE PADDLE MACHINE

“My dear fellow… are you able to lift this casket whilst straddling it?”…
“Why of course I can, Herbert…” BANG “My arse! My eyes!”

7. WATER HUNTING TRIPOD

Among the worst things about shooting birds in the face is when they fly away over water. Well… curse those avian menaces no longer – for the Victorians had a method for pursuing them. The single most unstable method imaginable. Ever heard of boats, Victorian inventors?

8. STAMP LICKER

Nobody likes licking stamps: who knows where they’ve been? A postal worker might’ve touched them, and you know what they’re like. Mercifully, the Victorians had a solution – an artificial, salivating dog’s head.

9. THE DEVIL’S SLIDE

This has it all going on. First you raise your friend on your Devil’s Slide. Then you tilt him backwards. Then you let him go, and observe in silent hysteria, as he is startled by a series of small explosions, and being spattered in the face with a rancid solvent.

10. SURPRISE CHAIR

Look at how the victim of this prank goes from serenity to sheer terror. Why, it would almost be worth inviting a working class person into your home for. “Why would you do this to me?!”

11. THE FUZZY WONDER

No idea.

12. VIGOR’S HORSE-ACTION SADDLE

This is “a perfect substitute for a live horse”, apparently, in that it promotes good spirits and stimulates the liver. They’re not fooling anyone. There used to be something similar available from mail order catalogues. They were called “massage wands”.

13. ELECTRIC BRANDING IRON

“I’m going to brand you!” howls Satan, as his candidate shrieks and screams. Imagine his relief when he realizes it was all a prank – instead of being scalded by a branding iron that had been left over an open flame… he’s merely having the skin burnt off his back by an electrically-heated innocent joke.

14. MADAM ROWLEY’S TOILET MASK (OR FACE GLOVE)

Did you know that you can only remove your perfections by wearing this toilet mask three times a week? Also, in the unlikely event that it somehow doesn’t work, you can just keep the thing on permanently.

15. THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE OR NIGHT MARE

“Come along, chaps… let’s canter around Berkley Square on my new Human Centipede!”

​Well, this is a jolly whimsy, Cedric… what the? That searing ‘animal heat’ shooting into my loins… it’s burning me most intimately! Your human centipede ride has gone in a way that is a terrifying night mare, Cedric!

16. AUTOMATIC SMOKING MACHINE

In the Victorian era, smoking was commonplace. Opiates were as freely available as present-day crisps, and pipes filled with various types of tobacco were to be found in most every home. All this open smoking resulted in fine establishments such as bars and pubs being clouded with varying types of smoke. But what if your own establishment lacked smokers? What if you desperately desired the unpleasant stench and poor visibility which came with popularity?

Well, it was for individuals suffering under the weight of these needs that the automatic smoking machine was invented. As is depicted in the image above, the machine was used to smoke cigars in place of a human. Thus, you could fill a room with odor without ever laying your lips upon a cigar or pipe.

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