Can You Hear Me Now? [Weirdest Inventions]

Posted by Brett on June 22nd, 2010

Everyday this week…Brett Rounsaville brings us the Weirdest Inventions ever conceived.

A topic like this, sometimes you owe it to the world to pay lip service to the big clichés. Case in point, I think we can all agree that if there’s one group of people we know we can count on to come up with one of the weirdest inventions we’ve ever seen…oh yeah…okay…I forgot already…it’s the Japanese. BUT, if there are TWO groups of people then the second one is DEFINITELY the military!

Have you seen this contraption? I thought I had. Knowing that it came from the breeding ground of weird that is the military-industrial complex, I was pretty sure it was the lecherous King of the Isle of Jazz’s artillery, until I remembered my Dad had assured me at some point that cartoons aren’t real. (Heartbreaking.)

Back to square one. Turns out this thing isn’t designed to go to battle with the Land of Symphony, it’s supposed to be a little like a giant tinhorn. You know, those metal horns old people stick in their ears to hear better in cartoons. (Hmm…somehow it already came back to cartoons.) Except this particular phalanx of inverse instruments is meant to alert the old man on the other end to incoming enemy aircraft. (At which point SOP states he must shake his cane, mumble unintelligibly for 10-20 seconds, then suddenly shout, “…OR I’LL SHOVE THIS WALKIN’ STICK UP YOUR @$$!!!)

Unfortunately, I’m not sure how well this fancy little listening device worked. Can anyone tell me what country those soldiers in the foreground are from? If it’s Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, or the Ottoman Empire my guess would be, “not as well as they had hoped.”

Regardless, eventually the old men were replaced with radar operators…

Military history is rife with weird inventions. See if you can’t find me a few more that out weird this one. I dare you.

  • Ströh

    I just googled “world war one giant listening devices” and this popped up: http://www.dself.dsl.pipex.com/museum/comms/ear…

    The answer to your question is: everyone! Turns out “acoustic radar” was all the rage before the real thing was invented.

    The picture you have used is one of many similar images on the site and is identified as Japanese. One of the figures is emperor Hirohito and in the background are several AA guns designed to be used in conjunction with the tubas.

  • http://www.amtrekker.com Brett Rounsaville

    Awesome! Thanks for all the info, Ströh! Nice leg work. :)

  • http://twitter.com/Cadmian Michael Hogan

    Here is a weird military invention for you. Some crazy screw tank made by the Ruskies in 1970. It is basically a tank that moves around on giant screws.

    http://fulgerica.com/en/2007/07/04/in-soviet-ru…

  • http://www.amtrekker.com Brett Rounsaville

    That's awesome! I think I had that transformer… ;)