Inhabitants of each of the centuries rightly believe that their period is the most progressive in terms of technology and inventions. However, 100 or even 50 years pass, and many of them become not just irrelevant – they simply surprise or even confuse descendants with its appearance, complexity or a strange set of functions.

We have collected photographs of technical inventions, mechanisms, ammunition and other once novelties in the military and civilian spheres from the past. All of them are united by the fact that at the time of their creation they seemed to be something cool and advanced, and now they look like something out of this world.

1. In 1955, this tiny electric narrow gauge train was installed in New York’s Holland tunnel to monitor traffic speed


2. A rail zeppelin and a steam train near the railway platform. Berlin, Germany, 1931


3. Kodak K-24 camera, used for aerial photography during WW2 by the Americans


4. Tsar tank, 1915


5. The world’s oldest surviving diving suit: The Old Gentleman, from 186


6. The Antarctic Snow Cruiser on the drive towards the ship that would take it south to the Pole


The vehicle provided living space and laboratories to five scientists. Unfortunately, it was found to have no traction on snow unless driven in reverse and was eventually abandoned. 1939.

7. Austro-Hungarian tail gunner armed with ten Mauser C96 handguns, WWI


8. Polish policeman in full assault gear, 1934


9. A man with a Punt Gun, a type of large shotgun used for duck hunting


It could kill over 50 birds at once and was banned in the late 1860s.

10. The Hindenburg Takes Shape, 1932.


11. Giant Italian gun captured by Austro-Hungarians during Caporetto breakthrough, November 1917


12. Motorized roller-skate salesman in California, 1961


13. A British couple sleeps inside a “Morrison shelter”


Used as protection from collapsing homes during the WWII ‘Blitz’ bombing raids. March 1941.

14. Ford Model T with optional high water kit sold by Trilacoochee Ford in Green Swamp Florida


15. Giant Mechanical Tricycles by the Boston Woven Hose and Rubber Company, 1896


16. 1972 Maserati Boomerang – Steering Wheel


17. The old “Telefontornet” telephone tower in Stockholm, Sweden, with approximately 5,500 telephone lines c. 1890


Bonus: 300 year old library tool that enabled a researcher to have seven books open at once


(Palafoxiana Library, Puebla).