Isolation From A Noisy World

The Isolator 

Hugo Gernsback a Luxembourgish-American inventor, writer, editor, engineer, designer, businessman, and magazine publisher. Published from May 1913 to August 1929 and started by Hugo Gernsback, a magazine called Science and Invention encouraged scientific curiosity and amateur scientific experimentation. Gernsback started the magazine to showcase scientific experimentation and new inventions/inventors. In 1926, he launched the first science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, the first magazine devoted solely to what he referred to as “scientifiction.” Printed on the cheapest paper available, Gernsback decided that his fiction magazine would carry only stories set in the future or involving elements of unknown or highly advanced science and technology.

Hugo Gernsback

His contributions to the genre as publisher were so significant that, along with the novelists H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, he is sometimes called “The Father of Science Fiction.” The World Science Fiction Society’s Annual Achievement Awards, established in 1953, were named “Hugos“ in recognition of the great work he did to promote the genre. He is also a member of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Science fiction pioneer Hugo Gernsback wasn’t simply the founder of Amazing Stories and Science and Invention magazine, he was also a creative inventor and futurist. His name was always prominently displayed on the cover and inside each of his magazines and each issue featured an editorial by Gernsback himself in the first few pages. Above all else, he was a tireless self-promoter.

Science & Invention Magazine 1925

In the July 1925 issue of Science and Invention magazine, Gernsback revealed one of his inventions called The Isolator on the cover of the magazine. The cover photo showed the author at work at his desk wearing the isolator. The Isolator’s main purpose was to block out all the noise from the surrounding environment and narrow the field of view to only let you see the page in front of you. It was designed to improve concentration through total sensory isolation and to help focus the mind when reading or writing. 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 helmet even had an oxygen tube attached so the person could breathe.

The Bose “Isolators”

Almost a hundred years after Gernback’s invention, noise levels in culture have dramatically increased while noise cancelling devices have decreased in size. I wonder what Hugo would think of something like the new Bose Noise Cancelling WIreless Earbuds above?


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