The old adage states that necessity is the mother of invention. However, a lot of presently extant items demonstrate the opposite and beg the question, why? Why do some inventions change the world, while others are just… useless?

Why do some inventions change the world, while others are just… useless?

Creativity is a blessing – it truly is! Since the dawn of humankind, we’ve been thinking up ways to make life easy. Humans discovered fire and the fact that (a) it keeps us warm and (b) it helps us with delicious barbeque and grill cooking. We looked at birds and figured out how to fly, and some utter genius invented pizza. Very often it feels like we’ve got a handle on life and on creativity!

And then… these items come to mind, and we move into another human commonality: questioning everything. So let’s have a critical look at some of the most useless inventions ever created:

1. Clamato

A blue-capped plastic bottle of Clamato juice.
[Image description: A blue-capped plastic bottle of Clamato juice.] Via Clamato
I’m starting out with what may be the most controversial invention ever, because there actually exist people who like Clamato. Why, I can’t imagine. I also can’t imagine why the first person who combined clam juice and tomato thought it a good idea. No individual’s taken credit and it’s probably for the best. I can’t imagine they would go down in the annals of history as a patron of refined taste.

2. The Automatic Salt Dispenser

A screenshot from a promotional video, showing a cylindrical device on a table, floating text that says "Smart salt dispenser with an app", and a floating phone on the right.
[Image Description: A screenshot from a promotional video, showing a cylindrical device on a table, floating text that says “Smart salt dispenser with an app”, and a floating phone on the right.] From YouTube.
Because vertical integration isn’t enough – there’s Smalt. What sounds like a failed chocolate brand is actually a “smart” salt dispenser for when you’re too lazy to sprinkle some sodium yourself. Why pay top dollar for this product? Well, it’s also a Bluetooth speaker with mood lighting for when you want to celebrate having wasted money on a digital salt shaker.

3. The Toilet Golfer

An image of a man on a toilet, waist down, playing golf on a golf green surrounding the base of the toilet.
An image of a man on a toilet, waist down, playing golf on a golf green surrounding the base of the toilet.

When the games on your phone aren’t entertaining enough for your excretory experience, there’s always mini-golf for your bathroom. I wonder if the astroturf is machine washable and if these ever made enough money for the inventor to break even, at the very least. The potty putter certainly doesn’t scream “class”, and I can’t imagine the many steps this took to get from idea to finished product without wondering if there could have been a better use of resources.

4. The Bluetooth Brush

An image of a phone and a hairbrush in the same frame, against a white background.
[Image description: An image of a phone and a hairbrush in the same frame, against a white background.] From L’Oreal.
Why. Why does technology have to be involved with anything and everything under the sun? What is the point of having a Bluetooth-enabled hairbrush? This thing is actually designed to tell you if you’re brushing your hair right and if you’re orchestrating the right number of strokes (for which I’m pretty sure there’s no right number), so… why?

5. The Fart Nappy

A rendering of a person in underwear wearing the flatulence deodorizer.
[Image description: A rendering of a person in underwear wearing the flatulence deodorizer.] From Google Patents.
On its patent form, it’s called the “flatulence deodorizer” but let’s get real… there’s no fancy way of saying this is a fart diaper. Allegedly, it ensures your gas does not escape the confines of the nappy, but people will still probably hear it, and where does that leave you? Hard pass on this one.

6. The Wearable Towel

A behind shot of a woman in the middle of wrapping her wearable towel.
[Image description: A behind shot of a woman in the middle of wrapping her wearable towel.] Via Amazon
I usually just wrap a standard towel around myself and I’m technically wearing it. This is truly a superfluous party trick of an item that doesn’t have any real market competition. But get that money, I guess? I mean is it actually making any profit to begin with? I can’t imagine there’s any real demand for this product.

7. The Butter Grater

An image of the butter grater with some grated butter on its top.
[Image description: An image of the butter grater with some grated butter on its top.] From Amazon
For when cheese isn’t around. I honestly can’t think of any other reason for this invention to exist. If anyone out there has ever used one and found its true utility, please let me know. Otherwise I’m just going to use a butter knife for my toast like I always have and label this another useless invention.

8. Knee Pad Ear Muffs for Toddlers

An image with rendering of the knee pad ear muffs for toddlers.
[Image description: An image with rendering of the knee pad ear muffs for toddlers.] From Google Patents
This one may be the best invention of the lot. You pretend like you’re protecting your kid’s knees as they begin to crawl, but actually you’re having them clean the floor with these knee pad ear muffs. This way, your floors stay clean almost all the time, you’re helping your kid’s motor skills improve, and you really don’t need to buy a Roomba. Who says housekeeping is hard?

9. The Motorized Ice Cream Cone

A rendering of the mechanical ice cream cone.
[Image description: A rendering of the mechanical ice cream cone.] From Google Patents
When I’m not having a good time enjoying my ice cream cone made of biscuit, I’m enjoying having some ice cream with the most high-tech solution in frozen culinary history – the motorized ice cream cone. I love it when it spins around, flinging ice cream into my face, and when it’s shaking like Jell-O so that the ice cream is smeared all over my mouth. (Full disclosure: I don’t own one of these, but I imagine this is what it’s like to from the patent description.)

10. The Pet Rock

A grumpy looking rock with green googly eyes.
[Image description: A grumpy looking rock with green googly eyes.] Via Amazon
Come on, guys, it’s not even a real invention! Anyone can walk over to a garden (or ACE Hardware, if you’re bereft of green pastures in your community), then to a craft store, and put together this completely useless “toy”. The first person to have dreamed this up must have been very bored or very desperate. Fight me on this, I dare you.

11. The Wine Glass Necklace

An image of woman wearing a wine glass in a holster around her neck.
[Image description: An image of woman wearing a wine glass in a holster around her neck.] From Amazon
Ah, yes. Nothing screams class like a wine glass for a pendant. Even better? When the wine glass is full. Either it sloshes on your shirt or you get kicked out of most public places. Otherwise, it lets the world know exactly what your priorities are. Bonus points if you wear it to work and take a photo of your boss’ face when they see it for the first time.

And there we have it! If you know of any useless inventions you’d like to share with us, please do – and if you’re thinking of inventing one, please don’t.


https://thetempest.co/?p=125317
Shruti Sardesai

By Shruti Sardesai

Editorial Fellow

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