Saturday, August 6, 2011

Inventions that never caught on

Inventions that never caught on
Inventions that never caught on. When the first Web page went live 20 years ago on August 6, 1991, no one could have predicted how much it would change the world. However, not all inventions are as successful as the Internet. Let's take a look at a few that never caught on.
Steam-powered lawn mower
A man named James Summer invented the world's first steam-powered lawn mower as a more efficient way of cutting grass. Trouble was, the machines were extremely heavy.
Concrete homes
A famous inventor, known for his many world-changing inventions, didn't have a perfect track record. One of his biggest flops was his concept of concrete homes, complete with durable furnishings. A hard sell, the prefab houses never took off.
Shoe-fitting fluoroscope
This ill-fated contraption used X-ray technology to show how well a foot fit inside a shoe. It was a common feature in shoe stores until the cancerous effects of radiation became known.
One-wheel motorcycle
With the driver sitting inside a giant wheel, this bizarre-looking vehicle seemed to defy physics. Unsurprisingly, the one-wheel motorcycle didn't make it big since most people prefer the more stable two-wheel model
Radio fax newspaper
This once high-tech contraption transmitted the newspaper through a faxlike machine known as a radio-newspaper receiver or radio facsimile. Fortunately for paper boys, the machine never gained widespread popularity
Making its debut at a historic event, the Smell-O-Vision was a machine that allowed a movie theater audience to smell the scents suggested in the film. Though the machine was used only once in 1960, a modern variation will be used for an upcoming movie.
Flying car
Several models of flying cars were produced throughout the last century, but not one has been embraced by the mass market. The Moulton Taylor Aerocar and this odd creation are two of the most notable.
Cigarette umbrella
Back when cigarettes were one of the sexiest products on the market, an entire industry emerged devoted to smoking accessories. Though classy cigarette cases and long cigarette holders were popular, the cigarette umbrella somehow never hit it big.
House of the Future
A futuristic home wowed attendees of a famous theme park for a decade. Though the home featured an appliance that eventually became a household staple, the gadget-filled building – which looked more like a spaceship than a house -- never went into mass production.
AT&T Picturephone
Though this company has made video-calling easy today, the concept is nothing new. Unveiled at this exposition, the AT&T Picturephone was one of the first video telephone machines and spawned several other models of videophone in the decades to follow. None of the products had mainstream success, and all were eventually replaced by Internet-based video chatting.
This home videocassette recording system was wiped out by its competition, which offered a similar, but more popular, product
The LaserDisc was meant to be an improvement upon this in-home video system. Unlike videocassettes, LaserDiscs looked shiny and sleek, like a giant DVD. Unfortunately, actual DVDs were invented before LaserDiscs could really take off, and the technology became obsolete.
Crystal Pepsi
This short-lived soft drink was a clear version of Pepsi's standard cola drink. The soda was touted as a purer and healthier version of Pepsi's traditional brown cola, but consumers just didn't buy it.
Though it had success with the Walkman and this updated version of the portable music player, Sony failed to impress people with its MiniDisc technology. Though MiniDiscs and MiniDisc players were briefly popular in this country, they were quickly replaced by a newer music technology.
The CueCat was a cat-shaped personal barcode reading device. The device granted users access to certain Internet links if they scanned the related barcode, or "cue," using their CueCat. Though the CueCat never took off, a similar system has become popular in recent years.
Rejuvenique electric face mask
Skin care is a multibillion-dollar industry with a continual influx of new products promising younger-looking skin. The Rejuvenique electric face mask was one such product, but the sight of it might have been enough to put people off.
Online delivery companies
In the midst of the dot-com bubble, a string of online companies promising to deliver anything and everything to your front door popped up across the Web. Unfortunately, websites such as Webvan, Kozmo and Urbanfetch did not revolutionize shopping as promised and eventually went bust.
Colored ketchup
This beloved condiment is easily recognized by its tomato-red color. However, one company tried to reinvent ketchup in green, pink, orange, blue and purple. These less-than-appetizing colored toppings didn't take off and were removed from shelves six years later.
Though it is commonly used by security guards and rented by city tourists, this personal transportation device did not meet the enormous expectations surrounding its release
After gaining huge success with the WWF, the company's chairman started a new league dedicated to another sport. The new league was marketed as an extreme version of the existing league, with sexier cheerleaders and rougher tackles. Despite the extreme hype, the XFL only lasted one season.