Agatha Christie With a Dog-Restraining Device, ca. 1940

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Humans domesticated dogs thousands of years ago, but it took until the 1940s for someone to create this mechanical monstrosity: An extendable arm to restrain man’s best friend.

(BIPS/Getty Images)

It’s the quintessential invention that we didn’t need because Mary Delaney had patented the idea for a dog leash some 40 years earlier in 1908.
The contraption is both bulky and flawed. The dog’s ribs would get squished by the pincher-like restrainer and, depending on the dog’s size, it would be difficult to contain the animal. For the sake of the dog and its owner, hope this dog restraint failed to make it past the prototype stage.

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