Science fiction pioneer Hugo Gernsback wasn't simply the founder of Amazing Stories, the first scifi periodical — he was also a prolific inventor and futurist who regaled past generations with zany visions of Dalek-like killing machines and computer-mandated marriage examinations.

And Gernsback's greatest contribution to office culture was "The Isolator," a sound-proof helmet that was so airtight it required its own oxygen tank. Imagine the nonstop comedy if these were implemented widespread today.

Gernsback revealed this device in the July 1925 issue of Science and Invention magazine, which included a photo of the inventor himself demonstrating its productivity-boosting qualities.

I absolutely love how superfluous the fan and telephone are in the context of this illustration.

Never mind the fact that this semi-phallic helmet looks excruciatingly hot, rivals the Mickey Mouse gas mask in terms of creepiness, or that one runs the risk of asphyxiating during a moment of gasp-inducing brilliance. The Isolator was the true face of diligence.

Without it, would Gernback have been able to concoct such comically bad-ass vehicles as the science fiction death robot, the anti-gangster bobsled, or the flamethrower tank of 1936? To wit:

The flame tank proposed is built as a huge army tank, of almost any dimensions you wish but, instead of carrying cannon or machine guns, the equipment in its interior comprises, first of all, its propelling machinery; second, the usual turrets from which the observing officers peep through slots; third, and occupying most of the available space in the interior, of the tank, we find huge tanks of fuel which may be gasoline, crude oil, or any suitable substance which is to feed the flames. Fourth, air compressing machinery, which keeps the fuel under high pressure, in order to shoot the flames at great speed over a good distance.

You can find more of Gernsback's retro visions here.

[Great Disorder via Kosher Samurai]