From Cork Swimwear to Eyeglasses for Chickens: Weird & Wonderful Inventions from the Turn of the 19th Century

Worn Over Time
3 min readFeb 6, 2018


If ever proof were needed that innovation knows no bounds, look no further than our list of six “out of the ordinary” historical patents.

1. Saluting Device

The “Saluting Device” was patented by James C. Boyle in 1896. (Source:

This invention was designed to help users practice good etiquette. The little device inside the hat would automatically lift and rotate the hat when the user wished to greet, or salute, someone. Buzz cut presumably optional.

2. Cork Swimming Suit

The “Cork Swimming Suit” was patented by Paschal Plant in 1882. (Source:

The garment’s fit was supposed to allow “perfectly free motions of the body and limbs” and was designed to be made out of strong string and small pieces of cork. The buoyancy of the cork would allow the user to float on water and look fashionable at the same time. Where can we get one?!

3. One Wheeled Vehicle

The “One Wheeled Vehicle” was patented by John Otto Lose in 1885. (Source:

This unicycle like device has the rider sitting inside, whilst the wheel turns around him or her. Important detail: the highly functional umbrella ensures the passenger (and his pipe) remains dry at all times.

4. Rocking or Oscillating Bath Tub

The “Rocking or Oscillating Bath Tub” was patented by Otto A. Hensel in 1900. (Source:

The innovation was designed to splash water against the bather. Lazy or brilliant?

5. Eye Protector for Chickens

The “Eye Protector for Chickens” was patented in 1903 by Andrew Jackson Jr. (Source:

No more fowl play! The invention was supposed to protect the eyes of chickens from other chickens “that might attempt to peck them”. To this day, you can buy slightly upgraded “Chicken eye glasses.”

6. Double Bicycle for Looping the Loop

The “Double Bicycle” was patented in 1905 by Karl Lange. (Source:

If you approach the loop cycling upside-down, you can complete the upside-down part right way up, instantly becoming the envy of all your friends.

Beautifully colorized patent images and article reposted with permission from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation. They are a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with 191 member states.



Worn Over Time

Have fun guessing and learning about our collection of unusual objects at