The gift-giving season has arrived, which means it's time to peruse SkyMall for a wonderfully useless trinket to bestow upon your favorite relative, or your least favorite in-law (two words: Human. Slingshot.) Had the lovably pointless magazine existed pre-1900, these inventions -- feasibly useful then, and definitely worthless now, with the exception of Henry Sumner's sort of cool glove-purse combo -- would be contenders for its inventory.
While Sumner's contemporaries were busy perfecting the steam engine/changing Western society forever, he devoted his energies to optimizing mitten efficiency. (To his credit, the purse glove looks sleek.) Similarly, John Fuller's "bonafide" ventilating hat and James Beckett's portable hair-brushing machine are two inventions that definitely did not change the world. Check out more below:
All images are from The National Archives, London, England 2014. © 2014 Crown Copyright. Courtesy Thames & Hudson.