Quirky Inventions That Never Quite Took Off

By Jack Ripley | June 11, 2024

Tomatan: The Tomato-Feeding Wearable Wonder

Innovation often dances on the fine line between genius and absurdity, and history is filled with inventions that, while quirky and imaginative, never quite found their footing. These creations, born from the minds of inventors with visions of transforming the world, ended up as curious footnotes in the annals of innovation. From contraptions that promised convenience to gadgets that were ahead of their time, these inventions offer a fascinating glimpse into the boundless creativity and occasional missteps of human ingenuity. Join us as we explore the peculiar world of inventions that, despite their unique charm, never managed to take off.

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Meet Tomatan, the whimsical creation born from the playful minds at Kagome, the Japanese juice vendor. This wearable wonder, positioned snugly behind your head, doubles as both a tomato dispenser and a symbol of ingenious marketing. While initially conceived as a lighthearted ploy to promote Kagome's juicy tomatoes, Tomatan transcends its novelty to become a delightful spectacle in marathons. As sponsored athletes don the distinctive harness, the sight of them munching on fresh tomatoes mid-run transforms into a memorable marketing moment, capturing the imagination of onlookers and media alike. With its built-in timer ensuring a steady supply of tangy treats, Tomatan embodies the fusion of innovation and branding, proving that even the most unconventional inventions can leave a lasting impression.

Amphicar: The Dubious Legacy of Amphibious Endeavors

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Yoichi Robert Okamoto/LBJ Presidential Library/Wikimedia Commons

Born from the ambitious designs of West German innovator Hans Trippel, whose previous claim to fame included the iconic Mercedes-Benz Gullwing door, the Amphicar was envisioned as the ultimate land-to-water conqueror. However, reality failed to mirror ambition, as this amphibious marvel proved to be a sluggish, unstable, and notoriously unreliable vessel. Its shortcomings extended beyond performance, with safety concerns and a critical lack of watertight integrity tarnishing its reputation.