Old, Weird Tech: German Potato Nose-Correcting Contraption


Do you suffer from potato nose or duckbill nose? What you want, like the rest of us, of course, is the Greco-Roman Normal Form.


Do you suffer from potato nose or duckbill nose? Long nose or hook nose? Slant nose or saddle nose? What you really want, like the rest of us, of course, is the Greco-Roman Normal Form. That according to this vintage advertisement for what BoingBoing calls an "old-timey German nose-error-correcting contraption." The Vintage Ads Livejournal (who else?) has the translated text:

SUCH NOSE ERRORS and similar will be quite significantly improved with the orthopedic nose former "Zello." The new and improved Model 20 exceeds all others. Double-layered padding clings exactly to the anatomical structure of the nose so that the affected nasal cartilage is normal-shaped in a short time. (Bone deformities are not.) Most warmly recommended by Royal Court Advisor Dr. G. von Eck, M.D. and other medical authorities. 100,000 "Zello" in use. Price 5 Marks, 7 Marks, and 10 Marks and a 10% surcharge for a doctor's visit. (A model or impression is desired.) Specialist L. M. Baginski, Berlin W. 126, WInterfeldstr.

The Zello was just one of several quirky inventions from German entrepreneur and marketing specialist Leo Maximilan Baginski. Baginski quit his first job following a mercantile apprenticeship to market and sell an all-purpose bottle cap he designed. Successful, Baginski went on to acquire a pharmaceutical company before leaving the day-to-day operations of his company to his sisters while he fought in World War I. With the war over, Baginski returned to what he knew best, inventing and marketing. He put out a massage device and the Spalt tablet for menstrual pain before accusations of employing forced laborers landed Baginski in the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Baginski was eventually released and, making good on an earlier vow, donated the funds to construct a new Catholic parish and accompanying kindergarten that still uses his name. Just before his death, Baginski handed control of the company to his son, who later sold it to what would become Wyeth. Wyeth was known for manufacturing Robitussin, Advil and other over-the-counter drugs as well as prescription drugs Effexor and Premarin as a subsidiary of the American Home Products Corporation. Pfizer purchased the company for nearly $70 billion in late 2009.

Explore the entire Old, Weird Tech archive.

Image: Vintage Ads Livejournal. Via BoingBoing.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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