The motion picture industry was in full swing years before synchronized sound was developed. Many engineers were working on adding sound to movies, but one of the strangest ideas came from romance novelist and amateur engineer Charles Felton Pidgin. In 1917 he patented an idea for adding word balloons to movies by having the actors blow into inflatable tubes that had the words on them! Think of the noisemakers at children’s birthday parties that unroll a paper tube when you blow in them -yeah, that’s the idea. I’ve seen no evidence that this technique was ever actually tried on the big screen, but I can imagine that it would be way more trouble than it was worth. Read more about the Beauty of Timelessly Bad Ideas at Ptak Science Books. -via Boing Boing
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