New back brush lets bather see just what she is up to.
Caption from LIFE. New back brush lets bather see just what she is up to.Allan Grant—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
New back brush lets bather see just what she is up to.
Comedian Billy de Wolfe with useful brushes for housewives.
Brushes on feet allow housewife to read while scrubbing floor.
Useful brush lifts rug so dirt can be swept under it.
Comedian Billy de Wolfe with actress Olga San Juan demonstrating nail brush.
Actress Olga San Juan demonstrating nail brush.
Cutaway broom here demonstrated by Paramount actress Olga San Juan quickly sweeps two-steps at a time.
Shovel-brush, used by Comedian Billy de Wolfe, is artfully designed to sweep and scoop in one simple motion.
Dribble attachment assures a much neater job because it catches dirt that dribbles off the main brush.
Comedian Billy de Wolfe with tooth brush.
Comedian Billy de Wolfe and actress Olga San Juan with tooth brush.
Actress Olga San Juan and comedian Billy de Wolfe having fun with housewife brushes.
Caption from LIFE. New back brush lets bather see just what she is up to.
Allan Grant—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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These Inventions Are Weirder Than Anything You'll Find at CES This Year

Jan 07, 2015

This week’s Consumer Electronics Show has introduced such modern marvels as a Bluetooth-connected pacifier and a Wi-Fi-connected washing machine. But dial the clock back six decades, and manufacturing and innovation were directed toward the singular purpose of winning the war—futuristic gadgets could wait.

One company forged ahead, though, determined to keep creativity among its top priorities. Facing a decrease in demand during the war years, the Los Angeles Brush Manufacturing Corporation created a catalog full of facetious inventions, simply “to take their minds off the ugly fact that they had no brushes to sell.” In a photo shoot by Allan Grant published in LIFE in 1947, actress Olga San Juan and comedian Billy de Wolfe took those inventions—a series of brushes of questionable utility—for a test drive.

Among the crop of gimmicks were a toothbrush with its bristles replaced by actual teeth, a fingernail brush made of nails meant for a wall, and a broom with a contraption that allows the sweeper to easily sweep dirt under a rug. Not pictured, but specially featured in the company’s catalog: “a special ‘brush off’ brush attached to a mallet for getting rid of too-persistent brush salesmen.”

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

Read next: These Are the Most Ingenious Gadgets From CES 2015

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