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Up, Up, and Away

An intriguing concept, this 1921 balloon/rotor helicopter designed by French engineer Etienne Oehmichen failed to establish a trend (Popular Mechanics, July 1921, p. 255). His later designs dispensed with the air bag, and he went on to develop a prize winning machine that set a circuit flight record of 1 km. He did return to powered blimps in the 1930s, with his remote controlled Hélicostat.

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Wild & Crazy Car

A “Czecho-Slovakian” invention: the walking car. Popular Mechanics (July 1921, p. 249) reports that the vehicle, driven by “heel and toe walking action,” is stable on slick surfaces! Just the thing for a winter day.

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For the Nervous Traveller

For the VERY nervous traveler: the diving suit carpetbag! (Popular Mechanics, Nov. 1915). It looks like a Buster Keaton gag.

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Pod People

Escape pods–YEARS before Ellen Ripley! (Popular Mechanics, Dec. 1915). Offshore oil rigs use them today . . . but this was designed for the crews of locomotives.

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Cannon-Armed Quadruplanes

The post-WW1 Caproni Ca. 60 did have 9 wings, but this 1916 image (Popular Mechanics, Jan. 1916) of a French quadruplane is a mere fantasy.
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Baby Bomb Bay

Is your apartment dark and crowded? No problem! Just hang your baby out of the window–with one of these (Pop. Mech. April 1916):

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Invention Obscura

This use of a camera obscura as an anti-aircraft sighting device is attributed to “a Peruvian inventor.” While similar devices were used to simulate bombing runs, this armed variant seems not to have been built (Popular Mechanics, April 1916).

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Chakram

Popular Mechanics (April 1916) is startled by Sikh soldiers’ use of the chakram. This seems to be the most modern account of its use, other than by Xena Warrior Princess.

The chakram hasn’t really developed a wide user base–it’s more of a niche weapon.

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Parachute Candidate

Surprisingly, this idea of a parachute-retarded golf ball–featured here in the June 1916 issue of Popular Mechanics–has popped up a number of times over the years:

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Unsafe at Any Speed

While this 1916 “safety airplane” might be considered a forerunner of the V-22 Osprey, its combination of pivoting engine, seat, and wings was wildly unstable (Popular Mechanics, June 1916):

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