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10 Innovations That Were Blacklisted

by Steve Etherwood
fact checked by Rachel Jones

In the world of innovation, certain creations have left a mark, not always for the better. From swimming super suits promising unprecedented speed to electrified water attempting to cure hangovers, each of these inventions faced its share of fame and eventual blacklisting. Join us as we explore the rise and fall of these ten innovations that were blacklisted.

Related: Ten Absurd Inventions That Are More Useful Than You Might Think

10 Swimming Super Suits

Why Swimming Tech Suits Are BANNED

Swimming super suits burst onto the scene in the late 2000s, promising to revolutionize the world of competitive swimming. These high-tech suits, made with cutting-edge materials, supposedly enhance buoyancy, reduce drag, and propel swimmers to record-breaking speeds.

The suits sparked controversy due to their impact on performance, leading to increased world records and an uneven playing field. The pinnacle of this debate came during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when athletes clad in these advanced suits shattered records left and right—25, to be exact, for this single Olympics.

Despite the initial excitement, swimming’s governing bodies stepped in to address the issue. FINA (now World Aquatics), the international federation for aquatic sports, imposed strict regulations on swimsuit technology in 2010, effectively blacklisting the use of these super suits in professional competitions.

The move aimed to restore fairness and ensure that success in the pool was determined by skill and athleticism rather than the latest swimwear technology. While the suits left a lasting mark on the sport’s history, their blacklisting reminds us of the delicate balance between innovation and maintaining the integrity of competitive sports.

9 Stickum, aka Sticky Gloves

The NFL may have banned stickum, but Lester Hayes got to keep his interception record | Weird Rules

Coated with a magical substance known as Stickum, these football gloves gave players an otherworldly grip on the ball. Stickum turned catches that were once deemed impossible into routine plays. The NFL, however, wasn’t too thrilled about this innovation.

Introduced in the late 1970s and early ’80s, Stickum-coated gloves became the secret weapon of many receivers. It allowed them to make jaw-dropping catches that left fans in awe. The gloves were so effective that they sparked debates about fairness and sportsmanship.

In 1981, the NFL ended the Stickum era by officially banning its use on the field. The league took a stand, emphasizing fair play and maintaining a level playing field for all teams. This decision marked the end of Stickum’s reign, but its legacy lingered as a cautionary tale in the world of sports.

While Stickum’s sticky gloves may be consigned to the history books, their impact on the game is undeniable. The ban on Stickum teaches us that even innovations that seem like a game changer can be blacklisted if they tilt the scales too far in one direction.

8 RealNetworks RealDVD

RealNetworks Releases DVD Ripping Software

Imagine a DVD player that not only played your favorite movies but also allowed you to make digital copies for personal use. That was the promise of RealDVD, a product by RealNetworks. Launched in 2008, it aimed to revolutionize how we interacted with our DVD collections.

However, the entertainment industry wasn’t ready to embrace this idea. RealDVD faced a legal backlash from major movie studios like Disney, Paramount, and Warner Bros. They argued that RealDVD violated copyright laws by enabling users to copy DVDs. The battle went to court, and unfortunately for RealNetworks, the judge ruled against them.

In 2009, the court issued an injunction, effectively putting the brakes on RealDVD’s distribution. The legal drama surrounding RealDVD highlighted the challenges of navigating copyright issues in the digital media landscape. Despite its potential to change how we manage our movie collections, RealDVD warned of the fine line between innovation and legal boundaries in technology and entertainment.

7 Jeff Gordon’s “T-Rex” Racecar

How Jeff Gordon’s “T-Rex” Car Changed NASCAR History

Jeff Gordon’s “T-Rex” racecar is the stuff of NASCAR legend, not just because of its fearsome name. In 1997, Gordon and his crew chief, Ray Evernham, unleashed an innovation that sent shockwaves through the racing world. The T-Rex wasn’t your average racecar but a meticulously engineered beast designed to dominate the competition.

Its revolutionary body design set the T-Rex apart, featuring aerodynamic tweaks that pushed the boundaries of NASCAR regulations. Evernham and his team exploited a loophole in the rulebook, creating an untouchable car. The car’s nickname, “T-Rex,” was a nod to its ferocious performance and the prehistoric predator it aimed to emulate.

Despite its success, NASCAR quickly caught wind of the T-Rex’s rule-bending innovations and promptly blacklisted the car. The legacy of the T-Rex lives on in racing lore as a symbol of ingenuity and boundary pushing in the pursuit of victory. Jeff Gordon’s approach to racing left a mark on the sport, proving that even if you bend the rules a little too far, the thrill of innovation is worth the risk.

6 Anchored Putters

Explaining The Anchoring Ban

Anchored putters gained fame for their unconventional design, featuring a longer shaft that could be anchored against the player’s body. The anchoring provided stability during the putting stroke. Golfers who struggled with traditional putting techniques embraced anchored putters as a game changer.

However, the joy was short-lived as the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the R&A, the sport’s global rule-makers, decided to put their foot down. In 2016, the ban on anchored putting came into effect, leaving golfers with anchored putters scratching their heads. The ruling aimed to maintain the traditional essence of the game, arguing that anchored putting offered an unfair advantage, especially in nerve-wracking situations on the green.

This decision sparked debates among golf enthusiasts worldwide. Supporters of anchored putters argued that they leveled the playing field for those struggling with putting. At the same time, opponents believed that the ban was necessary to preserve the integrity of the sport. Despite the controversy, the blacklisting of anchored putters remains a chapter in golf history. It’s a tale of innovation that pushed boundaries but ultimately collided with the strict rules of tradition.

5 Electrified Water: Hangover Cure

5 Legit Ways To Prevent a Hangover & Cure a Hangover | Doctor ER

In the 1900s, there was a bizarre yet intriguing innovation aimed at battling the notorious hangover—electrified water. Yes, you heard it right, electrified water. Imagine waking up after a wild night out. Instead of reaching for the classic aspirin, you consider shock therapy through your water instead.

The concept was to pass a mild electric current through the water, claiming it would zap away the hangover blues. Before you start visualizing people sticking their fingers into their water cups, the process was a tad more sophisticated. Special devices were designed to electrify water, promising a swift cure for post-party suffering.

While it might sound like a product of the wild experimentation era, this electrified water hangover remedy did have some enthusiasts. They argued that the electric charge could somehow counteract the effects of excessive alcohol consumption, bringing relief to pounding headaches and queasy stomachs.

However, unsurprisingly, electrified water didn’t stand the test of time. As our understanding of science and medicine advanced, more effective and less shocking remedies emerged, leaving electrified water as a quirky footnote in the history of hangover cures.

4 Spring Spokes for Cars

History and EVOLUTION of the WHEEL – from 3500 BCE to the PRESENT and BEYOND

In the era of early 1900s automotive innovation, one peculiar yet blacklisted creation emerged—the spring spoke wheels. Picture sleek cars cruising down the roads with wheels that defy the norms. These revolutionary wheels featured springs embedded within the spokes, promising a smoother ride and reduced impact on rough terrains.

The concept behind spring spoke wheels was to enhance shock absorption, making journeys more comfortable for passengers. Imagine riding over cobblestone streets without feeling every bump. Sounds like a dream, right? Unfortunately, reality had other plans. As cars became faster and roads evolved, the spring spoke wheels proved impractical and unreliable. The complexity of maintenance and manufacturing issues led to several incidents, earning these wheels a notorious spot in automotive history.

Ultimately, the blacklisting of spring spoke wheels wasn’t just about a failed innovation. It was a lesson in balancing ambition with feasibility. While these wheels may have vanished from the automotive scene, their brief stint serves as a reminder that not every idea, no matter how inventive, is destined for longevity.

3 Incandescent Light Bulb

Incandescent light bulb ban begins August 1 | Morning in America

The incandescent light bulb, a classic invention that brightened up our world for over a century, has found itself on the innovation blacklist. Why, you ask? Well, these seemingly harmless bulbs have been drawing flak for their energy inefficiency. As the world rallied toward sustainability, the incandescent bulb became an energy guzzler, converting a significant chunk of electricity into heat rather than light.

In 2007, the United States Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act, putting the incandescent bulb on notice. The law aimed to phase out these power-hungry bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient alternatives like LEDs and CFLs. The rationale was clear—reducing energy consumption and, subsequently, carbon footprints.

While the incandescent bulb has been a symbol of illumination for generations, its environmental impact couldn’t be ignored. The ban on these bulbs in various countries was a nod toward a greener and more sustainable future. As we bid farewell to the incandescent era, the glow of innovation now comes in energy-efficient lighting, paving the way for a brighter, eco-friendly tomorrow.

2 Tesla’s Death Ray

The Most Destructive Weapon Tesla Ever Made

“Death Ray” sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, but believe it or not, Nikola Tesla once had plans for such a device. In the early 20th century, Tesla claimed to have designed a weapon capable of emitting potent energy beams to destroy enemy targets. This invention raised eyebrows and sparked curiosity and concern.

Tesla envisioned a world where his Death Ray would revolutionize warfare, rendering traditional weaponry obsolete. The device was said to harness and amplify electromagnetic energy, focusing it into a deadly beam capable of disintegrating anything in its path. While Tesla’s ideas were ahead of his time, the Death Ray never materialized beyond blueprints and theoretical discussions.

Interestingly, the Death Ray remains shrouded in mystery and controversy. Some speculate that governments or military organizations secretly pursued Tesla’s concepts. Others dismiss the idea as pure science fiction. Despite the intrigue surrounding the Death Ray, it never became a reality, and Tesla’s innovative yet speculative invention remains blacklisted in the annals of unconventional and unrealized ideas.

1 Spray on Hair (Not Blacklisted But Should Be)

1990’s INFOMERCIAL HELL #19: “The Babes Are Back” with Ron Popeil’s GLH canned hair, by Ronco!

Spray-on hair—the innovation that’s raising eyebrows and hairlines alike. Imagine a world where an aerosol can works to transform your thinning locks into a luscious mane. It’s like magic for your scalp, right? Well, not everyone is cheering for this hair-raising invention.

While spray-on hair might seem like a quick fix for those grappling with hair loss, it’s not all sunshine and good hair days. Critics argue that it’s a temporary solution masking a deeper issue. Instead of addressing the root cause (pun intended), spray-on hair conceals the problem, leaving users with a false sense of confidence.

Moreover, some products contain harsh chemicals that could damage your natural hair, making it a double-edged sword for those hoping to revive their strands. Imagine trying to cover up a bald spot only to end up with a disaster—not the kind of innovation anyone signed up for.

Besides, embracing one’s natural beauty and rocking a confident bald look is gaining popularity. Spray-on hair could fuel insecurities and encourage unrealistic beauty standards. So, while the spray-on hair trend might be tempting, perhaps it’s time to celebrate our bald and beautiful selves instead of relying on a can of illusions.

fact checked by Rachel Jones