5 Useless Inventions from Austria’s Nonseum

Betty Gall, designed by Ernst Grosinger
Betty Gall, designed by Ernst Grosinger / Betty Gall, designed by Ernst Grosinger

There’s no such thing as a bad idea at the Nonseum, a museum in the 950-person Austrian town of Herrnbaumgarten. Opened by a local couple in 1984, the Nonseum shows off the weirdest, least-effective inventions that no one was asking for. 

If you’re looking for brilliance, this isn’t the museum for you—“nothing in the museum works,” as co-owner Betty Gall told Smithsonian in 2015. Her husband and co-founder, Fritz, makes many of the nonsense objects on display—a stiletto cover that keeps heels from sinking into grates in the sidewalk is one of his more useful inventions. 

If you can’t immediately get to northeastern Austria, please enjoy this list of five wonderfully nonsensical objects housed at the Nonseum. 


Photo: Betty Gall

These dishes—ready-made for splitting up household belongings—were designed by the Nonseum's own Fritz Gall. Because no one wants to have to fight over the wedding china. Better to break it all!


Image Credit: Betty Gall, designed by Ernst Grosinger

Electric toothbrushes seem so wasteful when you could simply power your oral hygiene with your partner’s huffing and puffing. Of course, if you’re single, you’ll need to use a hair dryer. Or, you know, your arm muscles. 


Image Credit: Betty Gall, designed by Fritz Gall

Those poor, disease-spreading mosquitos. If you can’t work up the nerve to squash them like, well, bugs, just catch them alive with what looks like a tea strainer on a stick. Bonus: the Nonseum advocates setting them free at your neighbor’s house. Revenge for that late-night band practice, perhaps? 


Image Credit: Mischa Nawrata

It’s about 0.7 inches in diameter, which honestly sounds a little big for most nostrils. Good luck to any boogers that stand in its way. 


Image Credit: Helene Waldner

Perfect for when your eyesight starts to fail and you can’t tell a potato from an onion.  

All images courtesy the Nonseum