Three Eye-popping Antique Inventions

“Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”

-Steve Jobs

Back in June last year I made an entry titled Exceptional Inventions Lost Through Time in which I curtly dipped into one of the topics which fascinates me the mosts; enigmatic artefacts. In that article I presented The Greek Fire, The Antikythera Mechanism and The Lycurgus Cup - incomprehensible objects old as time that have managed to both bewildered and mesmerize humanity for centuries.

Today - however - I’ve set myself for a far more humble task; to show you three sub-par antiquities of which the world has painstakingly forgotten about.

Box Beds of Yore


The Box-Bed (or lit-clos in French) was a highly traditional furnishing in the rural homes of northwest of France back in the 16th century. These beautiful carved and garnished possessions not only allowed privacy in the tiny and over-crowded homes of ancient Brittany but also saved space, kept people warm during winter and protected them from animals (both the livestock living inside of the house as well as wolves who used to enter houses and snatch babies from their cribs). 

In the 20th century, box-beds became progressively obsolete and by the start of the 21st century most of them were transformed into dressers, radio cabinets and bookshelves.

Radioactive Glassware


As I recalled in a past entry about deadly fashion trends of history - the early 20th century world was obsessed with radium; radium toothpaste, radium chocolate, radium face cream and radium water. Marie Curie’s discovery was far more than just a status symbol, it was a lifestyle.

Among these radioactive widespread goods we can find exquisite dinnerwares made out of a mixture of glass and uranium, which, due to their minimal radioactivity have made a minor revival in the past years amid collectionist and antique enthusiasts who claim that the use of them is negligibly hurtful for the human body. Oncologist however still recommend not to eat from radioactive tableware but, it’s up to you.

The Victorian Portable Swing


I wish we would know a little more about this sweet and most likely short-lived design, yet we don’t. I’ve seen it in some very rare Victorian and Edwardian photographic albums nevertheless no matter how hard I research, I don’t find any record on who invented this, for how long it was used or which people owned it - apparently it was somewhat popular due to its practicality, thus far we’ll never know what happened to it.

“No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.”

- Edward Hopper