Technology is constantly in flux. With new products and innovations seemingly every day, even the most high-tech computers and gadgets are likely to become outmoded not long after they’re released to the public.

Technology evolves so much, in fact, that it’s only a matter of time before we realize we can’t recognize past inventions. (Seriously, have you ever tried explaining a floppy disc to Generation Z?)

These 18 strange objects from the past—from ancient sunglasses to toothpicks—will be sure to raise the eyebrow of anyone living in the present!

1. This English toothpick dates back to 1620.

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2. Pigeons used to carry these cameras during World War II to help armies conduct aerial reconnaissance.

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This is what they looked like in action!

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3. This chair has an actual set of scales attached to it. (Perhaps to remind the person sitting there to get off their bums and exercise?)

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4. This is a baptismal syringe that was used for abortions.

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5. Can’t concentrate at work? People would use this sound insulation helmet to provides a limited (think: focused) view… as well as a limited supply of oxygen.

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6. This is a window cage… for babies.

20th May 1936: An example of a wire cage which a council in London propose to fix to the outside of their tenement windows, so that babies can benefit from fresh air and sunshine. (Photo by Norman Smith/Fox Photos/Getty Images)


The idea was to give babies more exposure to sunlight, but in reality, it probably would’ve been smarter to just let them play outside once in a while.

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7. This is a “wishing tree” tree full of coins. It was used much in the same way that we still use wishing wells: coins were placed on the trunk, which grew over them over time.

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If you throw a rock at it, you can try to knock one of these precious coins off the trunk!

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8. In New Guinea, men traditionally wore a Koteka, or a case fashioned out of gourds, to cover their penises.

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9. This is an ancient pair of sunglasses. They certainly block light, huh?

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10. This is a Type-89 machine gun camera used for aircraft training purposes against the Japanese during World War II. It would snap photos of targets to simulate firing actual bullets. (A good photo meant the soldier “hit” the target.)

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11. Would you have ever guessed that these paddles are really old-fashioned hair dryers? You’d fill them with boiling water and wrap your hair around them. Seems… safe.

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12. This is a Chinese hat worn during the Qing dynasty. Fancy!

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13. This is a portable altar for voodoo practitioners to worship with.

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14. This spoon was used to feed bears.

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15. Leeches were stored in jars like this when they were more commonly used for medical purposes.

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16. This knife is made out of shark teeth. It must’ve been helpful when metal was inaccessible!

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17. This deadly knapsack flamethrower was used by the USSR during World War II.

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It’s incredible how foreign a lot of this technology seems to us now. Could you even imagine what somebody would have thought of your smartphone 200 years ago?

Share these fascinating photographs with your friends below!