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Eureka! Or not…

Published 24/06/2015

Some of the world’s best inventions were created by accident or complete chance, such as the Tarte Tatin, the famous French pastry that was made when a traditional recipe went wrong at Hôtel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron; other inventions seem to be completely crazy ideas that in the end take off, and still others result from careful planning, innovation and savvy entrepreneurship.

Some ideas, on the other hand, no matter how much painstaking work goes into them, should perhaps remain just that: ideas.

At The Home of Translation we’ve had a good laugh at some examples given here by the, including wooden bathing suits and a pedestrian-catching device mounted to the front of a car (health and safety nowadays would have a field day!). On similar lines, cites the ‘Baby Mop’ (see above - a specially designed baby suit that allows the wearer polishes the floor as he or she moves around),  the ‘Ostrich Pillow’ (which could only be described as a an unusual combination between a pillow and a hat) and the ‘Full body umbrella’ (fairly self-explanatory). Click here to read the article.


The Ostrich Pillow. Photo:


Photo :

The Baby mop. Photo:


At the other end of the scale, an example of a great invention that started out humbly and has become a global success is the Playmobil® figurine, whose creator Hans Beck died at the start of this year.

The German toy maker first came up with the Playmobil® design in response to the global oil crisis at the beginning of the 1970s. His aim was to design a toy that would require minimal material to produce. The small figurines, measuring just 7.5cm in height, were quickly successful and today the range has diversified to include an impressive range of play themes. The toy is hugely popular not only among children but also as a collector’s item, with its own Collector’s Club and regular exhibitions and events held all over the world. It has even inspired art work, featuring as the subject of an exhibition last year and, according to, will soon have its own movie!



So, while we can have a good laugh about some of the more outlandish, off-the-wall ideas, it is just as well that some inventions really do work, and all the hard work that goes into them pays off!

For more info: (accessed June 2015) (accessed June 2015)

Or, for those keen to try out their French, find out more about the Playmobil art exhibition in Paris at:,53230.php (accessed June 2015)

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