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: www.wipo.int)

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


I messaged the online seller that I couldn’t afford to buy it, so the next best thing is to share its history and backstory.

Worn Over Time has been authorized to repost this eBay listing description by seller, hill-billybob. Enjoy, especially the YouTube video.

This super rare 1905 Terre Haute Inhalatorium Cabinet is probably the only one left in existence.

The late Bob McCoy of the world famous quackery museum, The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices, tried for many years, until he died, to acquire this “machine” from me, but I just couldn’t part with it then. …


My friend Glen has been collecting antiques for over 50 years. He’s been stumped several times by my guessing game website. So during my first visit to his home/museum, he couldn’t wait to give me a taste of my own patent medicine by asking me, “What is this?”

One of many mystery objects during Glen’s Revenge Tour

I was hesitant to say the obvious tabletop jukebox, but I did. Glen smiled and said, “Look closer.”


I recently started watching the heralded Westworld and it exceed my expectations in more ways than one. When I saw this bizarre bust on Dr. Robert Ford’s desk in the third episode, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Westworld Season 1, Episode 3, “The Stray”

I’ve been looking for that thing since 2014. And here it is staring back at me on my iPad three years later — on Westworld!


I recently bought an old copy of a comic opera on eBay. The seller listed the item as 1914 Tuneful Liar Comic Opera Harry Tyler Corning N.Y Electric Chair Execution. “Electric Chair Execution” — what the what?! That’s so bizarre and hard to believe. It would fit right in with my collection of unusual objects.

1/2 cloth with stiff paper cover. 228 pages. Measures 9” x 11 ¾”.


When I bought this sculpture a year ago, I knew right away it was a model for skin grafting in nasal reconstruction first described in the 16th Century.

A month ago, I was browsing through my hi-res photos and I took a closer look at the artist signature on the sculpture.

Worn Over Time

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

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