1/14/10

Household Inventions - Asbestos we can make them!

In 1945, Popular Mechanics ran this piece about new household inventions. There is no mention of who invented them, if they were ever sent to market, or even if these were working models in the photographs. They could easily be mockups put together just to demonstrate the idea for the photo shoot.

The combination clothes/dish washer is something I've wondered about before. Why buy two large machines to do what is more or less the same job? You'd think it'd be possible to make one machine that can do either. I guess it's not so easy, or the idea would have caught on. I'm not sure why, though.

It's kind of weird that somebody saw the need to design a thing that dries out clogged salt shakers. I'm a pretty astute observer of the physical world, and I like to find out little bits of domestic scientific trivia, but I didn't know that glogged salt shakers were a big problem. Also, I didn't know that the problem was caused by moisture. So, I guess we need to invent a salt shaker dryer to take up space on your kitchen counter for 364 days out of the year when you don't need it. Well, actually, it seems we don't need that, or you'd see them in stores by now, wouldn't you?

And now for the real star of the show: the Asbeston ironing board. No no no. Don't say "asbestos"! Asbestos was already beginning to gain attention as Something Seriously Bad For You in the 1940's. Let's see if I can summarize why it's bad. Asbestos is a natural mineral that forms very long, very thin crystalline fibers that don't burn, which is pretty neat. Much less neat is the fact that, if you get them on or in your body, your body can't get rid of them because the fibers are too thin, and as a reaction, forms an inflammation that never goes away. On the surface of the skin, it forms warts around the asbestos fibers. In your lungs, it becomes mesothelioma and kills you in fifteen years.

Anyhoo, this ironing board is made from "Asbeston". See what they did there? They changed the last letter of "asbestos" into an N. So, it's really a totally different material that has identical properties to asbestos, but with a trademarkable name and probably none of the icky drawbacks of the letter S version of the stuff, as far as you know. So, you're ironing your clothes on a fabric called "Asbeston". Put on that shirt. Rub it on your skin. Breathe all you want, because there's no S!

Also great household ideas...

"Ebolan" Disinfectant Spray - Safe until we discover it in 1976!
Bright Bottom Baby Powder -  Now with "Uraniun", for a little extra comforting warmth!
Leprosyn Dish Soap - Baked on food just melts away!
Cancerol Pain Reliever - You only take it once!
Cirrhosin Country Ale - Embrace the inevitable... in Cirrhosin Country!

2 comments:

Daniel said...

The coupling is definitely in use today - available at any big-box home and garden store.

As for the clothes/dish washer, never seen one, but how about a clothes washer/toilet?

http://bit.ly/8SlgzR

Phil Are Go! said...

Yes, the hose coupling (of various kinds) is common now. It wasn't funny or terrifying, so I didn't mention it.

Thanks for commenting!

Post a Comment