Impossible Inventions is a funky and fascinating collection of ideas, plans and patents from the amazing to the downright absurd!

From those crazy art and design grads that brought us the wonderful MAPS, Impossible Inventions is a must-have book for all budding engineering enthusiasts.

Admittedly, I do geek out on things like Leonardo da Vinci’s helicopter prototype from 500 years ago! Still, this book really is an exciting journey into the history of inventions. And although my children were too young to really understand it, they still loved the images and were inspired by the creativity behind the ideas.

The book starts with showing some actual patents that are truely absurd: animal ear protectors, fart deodoriser, postage stamp moistener, pillow with retractable umbrella… And this really sets the scene for the inventions that follow.

You’ll have your own favourites, but 2 of my favourite inventions from the book include:

  • Land yacht. Combining a sailboat with a horse drawn carriage sounds downright outrageous. But this one actually moved beyond prototype into a real vehicle. What’s even more amazing is that 400 years after this invention was brought to life, we have land yachts whizzing up and down our beaches. And we don’t think it’s strange at all!
  • Bubble messenger. This one was a complete failure… and I love that! It really reminds me of the 1000 experiments that Thomas Edison had to conduct to invent the lightbulb. Or Steve Jobs’ failed NeXT computer.

This book is very inspirational. Sure it has a bit of a poke at the inventions included. But not in a sarcastic way at all. And it celebrates failure, and thinking big, and thinking way outside the box. All of this is the sort of thing parents should want to weave into their kids’ minds.

This book will appeal to budding engineers and entrepreneurs, but the message is important for all kids; forget the naysayers, dream big!

All accept, perhaps, the guy who dreamed up the pillow with retractable umbrella… that’s just silly.

Impossible Inventions – Ideas that shouldn’t work – Written by Aleksandra & Daniel Mizielinski – Published by Gecko Press – RRP$35


Jarrod is a quintessential Kiwi Dad. He lives in Manakau, and works from a home office, overlooking his chickens and bees. His inspiration and motivation in life come from his wife and two children.

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