Blast from the past – 19th Century Tech
Innovative technology from the 19th Century at Gadget Show Live 2016:
On of the highlights of the Gadget Show Live 2016 in the NEC, Birmingham, was their display of technology from the 19th Century. Here’s some of our favourite ones:
Hair waxer c.1934
This old boy is designed to dry and blow fine vapours of wax into the “modern woman’s” hair . All you need to do is place your head inside the helmet and turn it on. The machine was driven by its own motor.
This vacuum cleaner was made by the Zorst Vacuum Company of Birmingham. Its substitute for electricity was some brute force and muscle power. You crank the handle which causes the bellows to suck in air and the dust with it.
Teas-made Clockwork c.1902
We all know the staple diet of the British – tea! So it goes without saying that someone invented an automatic tea brewer that is timed to turn on when you wake up. You set your wake up time on the alarm clock. Then, in the morning, when the alarm goes off, it strikes a match, lights an oil burner and finally tips the boiled water into the teapot. Ingenious! We’ll have to buy one for the office.
Electric Shock Device c.1875
Well, this was used to cure “all your ills” with one little (or not so little) shock. Just apply the metal ends holding the wooden handles and crank. No doubt this covered a range of treatment – just Google “shock treatment 19th century” and you’ll get a nice list of nasty treatments. One, called Electroconvulsive therapy was a way of treating various mental disorders including depression – very Victorian. Definitely not recommended in the modern day.