Today, I’m SO excited to be kicking off the official blog tour for A Perilous Journey of Danger & Mayhem by Christopher Healy. I absolutely adored Chris’s Hero’s Guide series, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to dive into his new book. I’ll have my review up later this week, and this gorgeous book hits stores tomorrow — but for today, we have a super fun guest post from Chris, in which he shares his Top Ten Awesomely Weird Old Inventions. (Plus, keep reading to learn more about the book & enter to win a signed copy!)
And I do mean WEIRD. And also hilarious!
Top Ten Awesomely Weird Old Inventions
By Christopher Healy
My new book, A Perilous Journey of Danger & Mayhem, Vol. 1: A Dastardly Plot, takes place in the 1880s, during the Great Age of Invention, when many of the innovations that helped craft our modern, mechanized world were first introduced. Whether it was household names like Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison or lesser-known but equally talented geniuses like Josephine Cochrane and Margaret Knight (who gifted us with the dishwasher and the paper bag, respectively), the inventors of that era literally changed the way humanity lived. Well, some of them. Not everyone who leapt for invention gold managed to stick the landing. Which, in some cases, was definitely for the best. And thus do I hereby present to you these gloriously beautiful fiascoes from the archives of the US Patent Office. Some are old, some a bit more modern, all … interesting.
1. Foolproof Alarm Clock
Tired of losing jobs and failing classes because you’ve overslept? The problem is probably your clock. Ringing bells, gentle music, the chirping of birds? Those things are all far too easy to sleep through. But a couple dozen wooden blocks falling onto your face? Bam! Welcome to the morning! (Now, go get yourself an icepack for that black eye.)
2. Convertible Hammock Suit
How many times have you been strolling through a park, come across two random poles, and thought to yourself, “If only I had a hammock to stretch between these poles, I could take the most awesome nap right now?” Well, fret no longer, because all you need to do is peel off this handy garment and—voilà!—you’re lounging on a hammock. In your underwear, apparently.
3. Self-Tipping Hat
Life in the 1800s was not easy. For one thing, you had to tip your hat to every person you met. Do you have any idea how tired that can make your arm? It’s no wonder someone thought up this mechanical marvel. (Author’s note: I wish I’d actually thought up this beauty. It would fit very nicely alongside the inventions of my character, Cassandra Pepper.)
4. Cork Bathing Suit
Shipwrecked? This lovely ensemble will not only keep you afloat, but also provide a handy way to seal your message-in-a-bottle.
5. Rocking Bathtub
It’s a bathtub. And it rocks. Both literally and figuratively. A bathtub that swings and sways, up and down, back and forth. Because… WHEE! The clever cover prevents all the water from sloshing out, while the convenient head-hole still allows you to see. And breathe. Plus… WHEE!
6. Bird Diaper
We will keep our statues clean! Even if we have to do it one bird at a time.
7. Finger-Mounted Flyswatter
I’ve always said that swatting flies was just way too easy. For one thing, your typical swatter is, like, twenty times the size of the fly. Where’s the challenge in that? If only we could attempt to hit those fast-moving, sudden-turning, unpredictable insects with something smaller than the flies themselves.
8. Banana Holder
INVENTOR: I’m gonna make a banana holder.
FRIEND: What’s it do?
INVENTOR: It holds a banana.
FRIEND: Just one?
FRIEND: Don’t bananas kinda come in their own natural casings?
INVENTOR: Mine will be better.
FRIEND: Okay. Well, at least it sounds like a pretty simple device to build.
INVENTOR: Oh, no—this is going to have at least thirty parts.
9. Mechanical Goat Ride
According to the patent text, “as the device is moved forwardly it can be caused to tilt in any direction, thus making it difficult for the rider to maintain his position.” And the invention is officially labeled as “Initiation Device.” Which can only mean that somewhere, at some point in history, there was a club that required you to survive a wild mechanical goat ride in order to join. I want to be in that club.
10. Wearable Hamster Trail
What hamster owner hasn’t wished they could take little Captain Furball with them wherever they went? Well, with this undoubtedly comfortable bit of attire, you can hit the town without needing to leave Princess Squee-Squee home alone with nothing to read but shredded newspapers. Just please don’t wear your hamster habitat while attempting to join the Mechanical Goat Club. That could end badly.
A PERILOUS JOURNEY OF DANGER & MAYHEM
BOOK 1: ‘A DASTARDLY PLOT’
By Christopher Healy
It is 1883—the Age of Invention! A time when great men like Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Nicola Tesla, and George Eastman work to turn the country into a mechanical-electrical-industrial marvel: a land of limitless opportunity. And it all happens at the world famous Inventors Guild headquarters in New York City—a place where a great idea, a lot of hard work, and a little bit of luck can find you rubbing elbows with these gods of industry who will usher humanity into the bright promise of the future.
Unless, of course, you’re a woman.
Molly Pepper, daughter of brilliant but unknown inventor Cassandra Pepper, lives with her mother in New York. By day, they make ends meet running a small pickle shop; but by night, they toil and dream of Cassandra shattering the glass ceiling of the Inventors Guild and taking her place among the most famous inventors in America. In an attempt to find a way to exhibit Cass’ work at the 1883 World’s Fair, they break into the Inventors Guild—and discover a mysterious and dastardly plot to destroy New York. The evidence points to the involvement of one of the world’s most famous inventors, and now it’s up to Molly, Cassandra, and a shop hand named Emmett Lee to uncover the truth—even if no one will ever know it was they who did it.
Christopher Healy, author of the acclaimed Hero’s Guide series, returns with the first book in a rip-roaring adventure about the inventors history remembers—and more than a few that it’s forgotten.
In stores 9/24/18 | ISBN: 978-06-234197
Christopher Healy is the author of The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, as well as its two sequels, The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle and The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw. Before becoming a writer, he worked as an actor, an ad copywriter, a toy store display designer, a fact-checker, a dishwasher, a journalist, a costume shop clothing stitcher, a children’s entertainment reviewer, and a haunted house zombie. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and a dog named Duncan. You can visit him online at www.christopherhealy.com
Thanks to our friends at Walden Pond Press, we have one signed copy of A Perilous Journey of Danger & Mayhem to offer up to a lucky winner.
To enter, tell us in the comments below what crazy invention YOU’D like to concoct! Then complete the Rafflecopter form to complete your entry and earn more chances to win.
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The auto sweep for my table for after the guys finish eating bread and crumbly stuff.
My invention would protect people who exercise outside from the weather (and dogs). It would be a breathable bubble that surrounds the person and moves with them and keeps them warm, cool, dry, or whatever is needed at the time. For night time exercisers, I would add glowing lights for visibility.
These inventions are pretty amusing. I loved The Jetsons when I was a child so I think I’d invent something like their personal robots that do things like cook and clean.
These inventions are pretty amusing. I loved The Jetsons when I was a child so I think I’d invent something like their personal robots that cook and clean.
Emergency parachutes for birds
I would invent a time turner to use on occasions when I am extra busy.
I’m not very creative, but my son will probably patent a really cool invention one day.