Inventions & Tech

Strange Inventions: The Isolator (1925)

What’s that? You tried out NaNoWriMo last month but just couldn’t find the opportunity to sit down and concentrate? Happens to the best of us. Well, sometimes the answers to our most troubling problems lie in the past.

Image: Science and Invention /
Image: Science and Invention /

Enter the Isolator helmet. This curious invention from 1925 was brought to the world by Hugo Gernsback in that year’s July issue of Science and Invention magazine, and involved something akin to a diving helmet with an oxygen tank. But this wasn’t for deep sea exploration – this was for desk work!

The Isolator’s main purpose was to block out all the noise – all of the noise – from your surrounding environment, and narrow your field of view to only let you see the page in front of you. The idea was that this would improve your focus, but it may have been slightly overkill. Slightly.

Hugo Gernsback wasn’t just an inventor, of course: he was also the publisher of Amazing Stories, as well as Science and Invention magazine, where these very images come from.

In fact, he’s considered one of the “Fathers of Science Fiction,” and even has a science fiction award named after him that you may have heard of: the Hugo Awards.

Image: Science and Invention / A Great Disorder
Image: Science and Invention / A Great Disorder
Image: Science and Invention / A Great Disorder
Image: Science and Invention / A Great Disorder

// via A Great Disorder


Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. For nearly 10 years, he's managed Stranger Dimensions, providing a unique perspective on all matters involving time travel, parallel universes, and whether or not robots might one day take over the world.

One Comment

  1. This is as brilliant as it is hilarious! I was thinking about making my entire house into a zero-vibrational, oxygen-rich, myopic focal wonderland, but all I need to make is this helmet! And perhaps a whole suit, for those pesky public appearances.

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