Weirdness from the 60s: Giant vibrators, hat with holes, helmet head massager and robot cat

Image credit: Getty Images

Some awesome things were invented in the 1960s, like the lava lamp. And then there are the truly awful gadgets, which seem to have been thought up in the midst of a drug haze...

Foot vibrating machines


The buzzing alternative to drugs

Image credit: Getty Images

The picture above was taken at Victoria Station, London in the 1960s. Giant vibrators were installed to apparently help travellers relax on their journey without having to resort to cannabis.

I’m not sure how many were made, or how long they were used for, but the three people pictured seem to be OK with it all. Especially the woman, who seems to be having a great time if you get my meaning. The slimmer version of Winston Churchill on the right looks positively enthralled. He probably thought it was a toilet and now he’s being photographed and has no idea where he is and where the actual loos are. Poor bloke. The other guy, presumably a train driver, has no shoes on so he’s all in.

However, if the machine was meant to relax you, it’s quite hard to do that when you’re standing up. Unless you’re a horse.


Hat with beauty pockets


Never be caught without toothpaste again!

Image credit: Getty Images

You’d have to be a trusting sort of fellow to wear this in public.

This hat with pocket was allegedly created in France in 1960, and bamboozles me no end.

Was this made as a substitute for a bag? It seems like a ridiculous way for money and material to be used. As there are no other photos to prove this thing existed beyond the image here, I can’t confirm that there are pockets all over the hat. But if there were, you would have to make it a balancing act, so it wasn’t too heavy on one side, making you look even more of a plonker and walk round in circles. Like a boat with one oar.

Imagine how handy you’d be, though. You wouldn’t have to rummage around in your bag to find your comb, you would just have to feel around in your head to find the pocket it was stored in.

Also, you’d never have to worry where your keys were again. Because they’d be in your vulnerable-to-pickpocketing headwear. 


Air-turbo head-massaging machine


Rub your head the right way

Image credit: Getty Images

The head massager from 1965 looks like a clunky thought-stealing machine. It resembles something out of a dystopian novel, where the affluent have their brain juice stored away while enjoying a glass of vino so they don’t have to trouble themselves with remembering everything.

According to what little information I could find, the air turbo head was (presumably) used to massage a person’s noggin without the need of an actual person. Who knows, perhaps there’s some tiny robot hands in the helmet, giving their scalps a good rub. It was the sixties, after all.


The meowing cat machine


Who needs a cat?

Image credit: Getty Images

Powered by a two-watt motor, and like a terrible scarecrow, this machine was invented in Japan in 1963. Called the Cat Mew, it was designed to scare little rodents away from your premises, by letting out a meow ten times a minute. If you were in a home that didn’t allow pets, then it would seem like the perfect solution without laying down poison. If it even worked. Which it probably didn’t. Hence why it’s not around today.

The eyes light up too, if that helps. If you went to get a glass of milk in the middle of the night, like they do in the movies, and this bright-eyed thing mewed in the corner, I would probably pee myself out of fright. Just like a mouse would do. Or wouldn’t. Because they don’t have a sphincter, so they constantly wee.

Have you come across any Bizarre Tech? Let me know at rnorthfield@theiet.org

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