Saturday, January 3, 2015

Worst Idea Ever - Headlights (1920)

Ah, the twenties, when everything went electric. Neon came to Times Square, tinging the night with gaudy colors, (somewhat) modern appliances became available to the average homeowner, Let's Misbehave called out across the airwaves, and everyone was doing the Charleston. The world was filled with verve and enthusiasm for what could be done. Notice I didn't say should be done.

The October 1920 issue of Popular Science Magazine gives us the worst idea ever for January. The wearable reading lamp-hat really isn't all that different from the eyeglass flashlights you sometimes see. Well, except for the fact the wearer would have to be tethered to a wall by a cord. Oh yes, and there is the matter of heat.

Just try touching the shade of an old-fashioned banker's lamp after it's been running for a half hour. I take that back, don't. The simple reason is heat, of course. Wear a sixty watt light bulb affixed to your noggin for more than a few seconds and you'll have second degree burns in a place that will give clear indication to the opposite sex that the lifeguard of common sense has asked you to leave the gene-pool. Still, Burton patented his gizmo, not to say it paid the bills.

Charles S. Burton of Oak Park, IL seems to have been a serial inventor, he held multiple patents. He patented children's blocks, a table lock, as well as one for a music roll container that bears a striking similarity to his reading light hat. I'm not sure whether he struck it big or not, but something tells me the electric hat didn't turn the trick. Still, you got to admire the guy for trying!

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