Date:July 13, 2020

10 Useless Machines Which, Nonetheless, Are Engineering Marvels

Do you know why we keep on inventing and inventing and inventing? Because we’re trying to finish our jobs faster and better. But do we always invent useful things? No, not really! But this only means that we got so used to creating machines, that we don’t seem to bother making them always useful.

These so-called useless machines are, in some ways, an expression of humanity’s mastery of basic science. A useless machine can be any mechanical device that has been intentionally designed to serve no useful purpose. It is believed the modern useless machine was invented by cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky way back in 1952 when he was doing graduate work at Bell Labs.

Check out 10 of these useless machines below and let us know in the comments what you think of them. Also, if you have any idea how we can turn them into something useful, that’d be great! 😛

10. The waiting machine – the spinning drive shaft of this useless machine triggers the finger in a very human-like way.

9. Multi-switch – the device efficiently flips all its switches off as they are switched on.

8. Chain Conveyor – the motor in this machine simply drags the extra-long segment of chain along, resulting in the strangely useless alive pattern up top.

7. The Hammer – the motor in this useless machine is constantly spinning, which causes the hammer to rise and fall. Careful, you don’t get a nail near it or you might accidentally get some work done.

6. The duel – two useless machines sharing one switch making double the useless. The arms will eventually try to turn themselves off, only to have the other arm instantly turn it back on.

5. The Smoking Machine – this device grabs one cigarette after the next and puffs until it’s all burned up. It then drops it and moves to the next.

4. The Unplugger – It’s kind of hilarious that when you turn this machine on, all it does is… unplug itself.

3. The Basic Coffin – well, it’s the same basic useless machine idea… but this one jazzes up the concept with a coffin aesthetic and a creepy hand.


2. Eternal Sweeping – a pair of machines get useless together. One device with electro-magnetic sweep iron and drop in front of the second machine, which in turn sweeps it back.

1. The Basic Box – a simple wooden “leave-me-alone bo”. It contains a motorized arm that pops up each time the switch is activated to shut itself back off.

Check out the full video of these useless inventions below:

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