Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Failed inventions

Kiwi Nomad has nice shiny new spouting. She inspired this post when I suggested she wash her dirty walls down....no that is a fib, but it adds colour. We were talking about walls though.

Just curious if any of you may have bought something that was supposed to do a job, but for varied reasons, just did not. A few come to my mind that we tried. Only one went back for a refund as it was clearly defective in its design.

Roto Scrub. It connected to your garden hose and the water pressure rotated the scrubbing head. Some you could put liquid soap into. It could be used on cars, boats, exterior house walls, in fact many areas. The theory was great. The weight of it was great too. It was so heavy you needed to be Hercules to use it for a sustained period, especially if you were washing down a vertical service. I think ours went to one of Mother's garage sales.

The next we saw at a home show at the Exhibition Buildings. It was a window cleaner. See, always looking to make life a little easier and usually fail. We were very hesitant about buying it even though the demonstration proved how well it worked. I think we paid $27 for it and that was a few years ago now. The device came in two parts. It had a strong magnet and as you moved the cleaning part around on the window, the magnet held the other cleaning part on the other side of the window, hence you were cleaning both sides at the same time. Ideal for cleaning our balcony windows. Except, there was no warning to take into account the thickness of the glass. Our glass is thick. I tried to use it. The outside part fell off the glass and landed right at the edge of gap between the balony floor and the balcony glass. It could have killed someone if it went over the edge. We tried to convince friends who had more conventional windows to buy it from us, but no. I think we just threw it out.

The last comes from much longer ago, when we lived in East Malvern. It was a flat hose and rolled up into a very neat little round package. When it was plugged onto the tap, it inflated with water and once the water stopped it shrank back again and you just reeled it up. It lasted about a week before it started leaking at the seams. It went straight back to the shop for a refund. Wouldn't you think the manufacturer, Nylex I think, would have tested it for a couple of weeks at least?

Do you have any to add to the list?


  1. I bought a copy of Stephen Hawking's 'Brief History of Time' because it was supposed to be 'intelligent and fascinating'.

    It was neither, but the b*st*rds at the bookshop wouldn't give me a refund.

  2. Can only think of my ex and no bugger would refund him, not even his own mother...

  3. LOL @ Jayne's comment!
    After working 7 days straight (3am's, a night shift and then 3 pm shift's) I cannot think of a failed invention right now. Something will come to mind I am sure.
    After having four babies and keeping house's clean for so many years there has to be something I have bought that doesn't quite "cut it". Of the top of my head I could suggest a steam mop I once bought and took back. Waste of time that was. Elbow grease did the trick more effectively.
    Oh and perhaps the bump fed whipper snipper, drove me absolutely mad... risk of chopping off fingers trying to fix the stupid cord.. of course I would disconnect from power first, but still, what a hassel.

    I can say that the best invention for me has been those 3M sticky things for the walls to put up my pictures and paintings, the ones that do not damage the walls. And for cleaning I swear by my Enjo glove for the shower and the bathroom..and mirrors.

  4. Those magnet window cleaning 'thingys' are often spruiked at Bondi Junction markets.

    A friend who lives in a high rise housing commission complex bought a pair which failed at first usage when the outside half fell off and dropped 25 stories to the ground.

  5. Any can opener made after 1973.



  6. Brian says to book vendor, 'I read it but I could not absorb nor understand it. Therefore,it is unused and so may I have a refund'. Or maybe, 'It was a load of tosh. Gimme my money back'.

    Exes are rarely in demand Jayne. Impossible to get a refund.

    Cazzie, a steam mop sounds pretty useless. Enjo cloth sounds interesting. We have tried various methods of bathroom clean and I always resort to Jiff and elbow grease.

    Exactly the same Victor. Very dangerous.

    Those dreadful old can openers of my childhood Pants? Modern ones are much better.

  7. Anonymous5:59 pm

    Its a surprise when things work as described - their the ones I remember, not the multitude of ones that dont. But a good rule of thumb is - if its cheap, promises much, then you've done your dollars.....

  8. Michael, while the Roto Brush thingie wasn't cheap, I guess the other two fall into the category.

  9. This youtube clip seems to go with the theme here:

  10. Ah, that made me laugh KN.