1940 was a banner year for American technological innovation.
One small box of homegrown ingenuity changed home entertainment forever.
Another, many would argue, helped our country win World War II.
And then there was this.
The two inventions that totally rocked 1940.
1. Peter Goldmark invented the modern color television system.
2. Karl Pabst invented the Jeep.
And then there was this. Redundancy intentional.
Say hello to the left ankle of Miss June Callahan. It is possible (but seems unlikely) that the Seaside, Oregon resident was the inventor of The Ankle Thermometer for Bathers.
We know for certain that Miss Callahan was a “pioneer” when it came to determining precise ocean water temperatures without getting her hair wet.
We know this because the unnamed Oregonian Reporter wrote in his non-award winning summer 1940 story:
“She has been pioneering with the gadget which may catch the popular fancy and soon be seen at watering places all over the country.”
Obviously, a popular fancy catch never happened.
Why did The Ankle Thermometer for Bathers fail so miserably?
Perhaps it was this story.
Again, quoting the unnamed Oregonian Reporter:
“Miss Callahan explains that it is now unnecessary for her to guess how cold the water is. All she has to do is wade in the surf up to her ankles, wait about a minute, take a reading and decide whether she wants to swim or play on the sand.
“When a curious reporter asked the pretty Oregonian whether her reactions to the waters of the Blue Pacific didn’t tell her – without the aid of a thermometer – if she wanted to take a swim, she replied that she is all for the progress of the Machine Age and believes that the new thermometer has its advantages.
“The little meter, which looks very much like a wrist watch, weighs only a few ounces, is watertight and has the virtue of attracting attention to a slim ankle.”
Reading between and around the lines, we’re guessing the unnamed Oregonian Reporter used his journalistic “talent” to convince an attractive slim-ankled woman to model an “invention” (guessing here it was actually a modified wrist watch) that had no real value or future.
An extensive Internet search turned up absolutely no information about The Ankle Thermometer for Bathers or Miss June Callahan, which seems to confirm our theory.
Google and Yahoo did help us discover that the average Seaside ocean temperature in June, July and August varies between 56 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit. That, of course, begs the question – why would anyone need The Ankle Thermometer for Bathers on the beaches of Oregon?
The invention (legitimate or not) presented by the unnamed Oregonian Reporter in 1940 was not without merit, however.
Not shockingly, in 2014, there’s an app for that!