The Strangest Prototypes For Everyday Products

Prototypes are merely early samples of products built to test concepts and processes. Most people agree that there have been some pretty strange prototypes created by design teams in every area of manufacturing. Prototypes serve to evaluate new designs and provide specifications for real, working products, rather than theoretical ones. Over the years, there have been some great prototypes that went on to become iconic products used in every area of our lives. There have also been some pretty strange prototypes that never really caught on. Here are just a few of the stranger prototypes that we’ve seen over the years.


In 1983, Apple cooked up a nameless prototype phone and tablet that would eventually inspire the iPhone. Of course, back in 1983 mobile phones were still in their infancy and Apple had yet to ditch the dreaded cord.

In 1924, the Coleman gas iron preceded modern electric irons, with its rear reservoir producing a contained fire inside the iron. Once the iron had been sufficiently preheated, the user would then shut off the fire.

Roller skates weren’t always the super-cool mode of transportation they are today. In 1910, Sweden created a prototype set of skates that were more like two tiny bicycles you wore on your feet. They weren’t exactly convenient to remove once you got to the office.

The Wigomat was the world’s first all-electric drip coffee maker. It was invented in Germany in 1954, and though it was on the strange-looking side, it definitely resembles coffee makers of today.

The grandfather of the e-reader is the Sony Data Discman, a pre-loadable media player that displayed certain books, depending on the disc. The discs were incredibly hard to use and quickly abandoned when people decided paper books were just fine.