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Science's Strangest Inventions

by Tom Quinn

The history of science is littered with mad, bad and delightfully dotty inventions, from the bicycle that relied for its momentum on the rider waggling his head back and forth continually to the Improved Pneumatic Advertising Hat – a bowler that hurled a lit-up billboard into the air at the touch of a button – or the suitcase that turned into a small boat for the nervous ferry passenger. Here is the chance to sample, among other delights, Professor Ray's Nose Adjusting Machine, Admiral Popov's Circular Warship, The Perfect Sleeping Partner (a Japanese pillow shaped just like a man with an arm fitted at the right angle for a comforting cuddle) and last, but by no means least, Calantarient's Improved Dung Trap for Carriage Horses Employed by Ladies of Fashion and those of a Delicate Constitution.