A mix between a giant gas mask and a primitive dive helmet, “The Insolator” made its pictorial debut on the cover of the July 1925 issue of Science and Invention. The invention was meant to give the wearer full isolation and, by wearing “The Insolator”, they could fully concentrate at the task at hand. Obviously not for the faint of heart or those prone to claustrophobia, the helmet even had an oxygen tube attached so the person could breathe. Once a person put this helmet over their head, they were complete cut off from sound which, by the inventor’s reasoning, would make the wearer able to concentrate better. The small eye slits stopped eyes from wandering anywhere but one what was right in front of them.
The invention, as well as Science and Invention, was the brainchild of Hugo Gernsback. He was an inventor with an interest in science. While most of his tinkering dealt with radio construction and design, “The Insolator” was just one of his other odd creations. Gernsback started Science and Invention in May 1913 to showcase scientific experimentation and new inventions/inventors. Throughout his life, he had several magazines that emphasized science. Within the magazines, besides noteworthy inventions, he also wrote scientific fiction stories. Science and Invention ran until August 1929 when the magazine boom occurred and competitors caused Gernsback to declare bankruptcy. The August 1929 issue was the last one that was edited by Gernsback. It would stay in print for another two years under different management until it was sold and absorbed by Popular Mechanics.
By the time of his death on August 19, 1967, Gernsback held 80 patents. This rather unusual invention (or even any of his inventions) is not what he is popularly remembered for – it was his magazines and his stories within them. Gernsback published the first science fiction magazines thus sharing the title “The Father of Science Fiction” with novelists Jules Verne (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea) and H.G. Wells (The War of the Worlds).
Keith Massie and Stephen D. Perry, “Hugo Gernsback and Radio Magazines: An Influential Intersection in Broadcast History,” Journal of Radio Studies vol. 9 (no. 2), 2002.
“Newstand: 1925: Science and Invention.”