8 Inventions From the 1980′s That Never Took Off

Ah… the 80′s. For some of us, it’s a decade of bad music we love to listen to. For others it’s the days of growing up and the best cartoons ever made (Transformers…). For many more it’s an age of inventions and technological ideas that never really caught on with the public.

Briefcase Alarms

Briefcase Alarms

In the ’80s, a lot of business types were worried about having their briefcases stolen right out of their hands. Though these security devices do actually exist today, they are far from in common use, especially not with the smoke-system that was part of the old setup.

Do-All System

Do-All System

Yes, today we have our smartphones that do everything – music, radio, calculator, alarm clock. Still, this gadget that today is basically a digital clock with a calculator strapped to it never really took off.

Domed Homes

Dome Home

They require less building materials, meaning less surface area and in turn a more efficient surface-area-to-volume-ratio. Still, the dome-trend never caught on, possibly due to its awkward appearance.

Electric Doormat

Electric Doormat

Somehow, this turned from a very simple, easy-to-use object into something so complicated it committed commercial suicide. The key to the electric doormat’s anti-tripping technology were belts looped over separate pulleys, alternatively mounted on counter rotating drums on each side of the mat.

Gull-Wing Doors

Gull-Wing Doors

First thing’s first: The term “gull-wing” comes from the doors’ resemblance to a seagull’s outstretched wings. Mercedes-Benz were the first to manufacture such cars in the 1950′s. A more serious attempt from a few companies in the 1980′s was made, but the trend never caught on. These doors make it impossible to tie down big and heavy objects to the roof, and in-case of the car rolling over, mean the passengers are stuck.

Speaker Vest

Speaker Vest

For some reason, this never caught on. Motorists prefer heated jackets and gloves, which work like electric blankets running off the vehicle’s battery.

Vibrating Sauna

Vibrating Sauna

This device from “Vibrosaun International” combines a home entertainment system with an air conditioner and massaging chair, all housed within a personal sauna pod. Maybe the fact that it cost nearly $6000 held it back from becoming a smash hit.

The Everything Card

Everything Card

Instead of having two credit cards to go along with your driver’s license and half a dozen membership cards, you could have something that’s just a bit thicker than a credit card, battery powered two-line LCD screen with a 10-key alphanumeric keypad. It was supposed to fill the roles of a bank card and security access card while making it possible to also use it on payphones and parking meters. You could say that the Smartphones today fill all of these tasks.

For more “awesome” inventions and gadgets that never really stuck with the public, here are a few that simply came way ahead of their time.

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