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Author Topic: The Kookiest Inventions  (Read 6135 times)

eureka

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The Kookiest Inventions
« on: June 27, 2012, 02:28:29 AM »

Thomas Edison notched over 1,000 patents, spanning the light bulb to the phonograph. Edison had a burning desire to change the world. But he liked knowing that he'd get paid for it too.

Innovators count on the patent system to protect their intellectual breakthroughs by giving them exclusive rights to their inventions for a period of time. Little wonder, then, that even in a lackluster economy the patent lawyers keep busy. Between 1996 and 2008, the annual number of patent filings jumped 130%, to 485,000, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

"To anyone out there with an idea, I say, 'What the heck, no idea is too silly,'" says Mary Spio, owner of Gen2Media, an online video-production company. Spio patented movie delivery by satellite in 2003 (Patent No. 7,065,355) and later sold the rights to Boeing.

Plenty of tinkers have taken Spio's philosophy to heart over the decades. For every light bulb or satellite-delivery system in the USPTO database you'll find myriad boondoggles--especially shocking given the prohibitive costs of papering a patent. In the best-case scenario, where an application gets stamped, sealed and approved on the first try, an inventor might pony up $15,000.

"That price assumes the inventor is very involved with the application process," says Harry Laxton, a patent lawyer for Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in San Antonio, Texas. "If you just throw documents at the lawyer and expect him to sort it all out, it's going to cost you"--as in, maybe $100,000. Worse, the process might drag on for a decade.

Cheese-Filter Cigarette
Cheese-Filter Cigarette
Cheese-Filter Cigarette (Patent No. 3,234,948)

Millions of people across the world like to smoke. Many also enjoy cheese. Why not combine the two in a cigarette filter made of cheese? That way, you can relax and nibble at the same time--with no toxins left behind! So efficient was this ventricular assault that Stuart Stebbings of De Pere, Wis., patented the idea in 1964.

Middle East Conflict Board Game (Patent No. 5,108,112)

Think Monopoly, except in place of Boardwalk and Indiana Avenue you have spots like "Oil Spill, Lose 1 Barrel" and "Peace Talks" and "Find Saddam, Win 3 Barrels." The game, created by Debra A. Gould of Palmer, Mass., in 1991 and patented in 1992, revolves around a not-so-imaginary war between Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. The object: Collect missiles and oil barrels. The winning player is the one with the most barrels when the game's last missile is fired. (No matter that real-life Saddam lost with no missiles and plenty of oil.)

Method Of Concealing Partial Baldness (Patent No. 4,022,227)

In short: a patent for a multi-directional comb-over, secured in 1975 by Frank Smith and Donald Smith. It reads: "A partially bald person without the financial means can not afford the luxury of such hair coverings. This person, therefore ... can attempt to use his own hair to cover the bald area, but generally most people do not have the ability to properly plan a hairstyle that will look good, and most attempts result in brushing the hair in one direction over the bald area." Only one question remains: How much money does Donald Trump owe these guys?

Grave Attachments - Periscope
Grave Attachments - Periscope
Grave Attachments - Periscope (Patent 901,407)

In 1908 inventor George Willems of Roanoke, Ill., had a swell idea: attaching periscopes to coffins so that, once buried, they could be peeked into to ensure that the entombed person was still dead. For whatever reason, this device hasn't caught on in the mortuary business. Must be hard to landscape all those scopes at the cemetery.

Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force (Patent No. 3,216,423)

With this ostensibly pain-easing contraption, one more fit for a NASA training center than a hospital, the laboring mother is strapped in and spun around at 82 revolutions per minute, fast enough to force the infant out of the birth canal and into the world. Not to worry: There's an internal governor that keeps the machine from going too fast and a cotton-backed net that's mounted below the woman to catch a flying newborn. Four decades later, hospitals still haven't signed on.

Combination Pillow and Crash Helmet (Patent No. 3,538,508)

This really, really good pillow aims to help passengers survive a plane crash. The thing splits in half, so you can stuff your head into the middle and brace for impact, snug with the knowledge that you're protected. The pillow/helmet even has a drawstring at each end so the wearer can cinch it down tight over his or her noggin. When standard turbulence turns into a steep nosedive, get your fluffy crash helmet out and strap 'er down. You'll be fine.

Dust Cover for Dog
Dust Cover for Dog
Dust Cover for Dog (Patent No. 3,150,641)

Don't want your dog getting all dusty? Neither did Seroun Kesh of Detroit in 1964. Actually, Kesh's main goals with this full-body suit for dogs were to protect house furniture and allow owners to insert a hair dryer into the suit's end to quick-dry their mutts after their baths. Not a PetSmart bestseller, to say the least.

Pneumatic Shoe Lacing Apparatus (Patent No. 5,205,055)

Remember those Nike shoes that Michael J. Fox sports in Back to the Future II--the ones that, with a touch of a button on the shoe tongue, tightened up to a perfect fit, no messy lace tying or hopelessly un-hip Velcro? Aaron D. Harrell figured he'd make those a reality, if a tortuously complicated one: These high-tops require a gas canister on the back of the shoe to power a pneumatic piston in the shoe's sole. The piston turns a crank on the side of the shoe that draws close the straps across the top--no laces needed. Great Scott, Marty, that's ridiculous!

Bird Trap and Cat Feeder (Patent No. 4,150,505)

Leo O. Voelker apparently had a soft spot for lazy cats. His contraption, patented in 1979, catches birds, which fly into a little house with a false floor attached to a downspout and dispenses them uninjured to a cage below, where famished felines move in for the kill. This guy would be a hit at an ornithologists' convention.

Coffee Having a Nicotine Composition Dissolved Therein (Patent No. 6,749,882)

Inventor Stephen Fortune brings together two of man's greatest vices, er, inventions ever. You know those chief executives who love to talk about going to bed at 2 a.m. and getting up at 4 a.m. so they can bench-press 300 pounds, run six miles and practice their backhand saber jabs--all before inking that next $100 million deal? The patent doesn't claim to render sleep irrelevant, but you might require way less of it after your patented morning brew. Slurp it, strap on your pillow crash helmet and prepare for launch.

Butt-kicking Amusement Apparatus
Butt-kicking Amusement Apparatus
User Operated Amusement Apparatus for Kicking the User's Buttocks (Patent No. 6,293,874)

With this device, care of inventor Joe W. Armstrong, users crank a shaft via a two-handed lever, which in turn rotates a pinwheel affixed with four boots. The wheel spins behind the user, giving him a swift kick jab every quarter turn. Who doesn't want a sore behind to go along with his upper body workout?

Musical Instrument Adapted to Emit a Controlled Flame (Patent No. 4,247,283)

For those looking to add a little flare to their trumpeting, simply outfit your instrument with cartridge of flammable gas connected to an ignition switch. So cool it's hot--not.

Fresh-Air Breathing Device and Method (Patent No. 4,320,756)

Inventor William O. Holmes came up with the idea in the early 1980s after rash of fires in high-rise hotels. Holmes' tube-shaped device plunges into a toilet bowl, past the water trap and into the air on the other side, which blows in from the sewage stack pipe. The idea isn't utterly ridiculous, the gist being that trapped users can suck stinky but non-toxic air from the toilet until the fire fighters arrive. Just remember to take a break from pulling air through a toilet long enough to scream for help.

Thong-Type Garment With Wire-frame Construction (Patent No. 6,738,988)

Edward T. Ruiter's and Jacqueline Dugas-Ruiter's patented thong underwear keeps your thong where it belongs and nowhere else. Never mind the obvious threat that all that wire might pose.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 03:15:10 AM by eureka »
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IkeRoiger

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Re: The Kookiest Inventions
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2014, 12:55:52 PM »

Thomas Edison notched over 1,000 patents, spanning the light bulb to the phonograph. Edison had a burning desire to change the world. But he liked knowing that he'd get paid for it too.

Innovators count on the patent system to protect their intellectual breakthroughs by giving them exclusive rights to their inventions for a period of time. Little wonder, then, that even in a lackluster economy the patent lawyers keep busy. Between 1996 and 2008, the annual number of patent filings jumped 130%, to 485,000, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

"To anyone out there with an idea, I say, 'What the heck, no idea is too silly,'" says Mary Spio, owner of Gen2Media, an online video-production company. Spio patented movie delivery by satellite in 2003 (Patent No. 7,065,355) and later sold the rights to

Plenty of tinkers have taken Spio's philosophy to heart over the decades. For every light bulb or satellite-delivery system in the USPTO database you'll find myriad boondoggles--especially shocking given the prohibitive costs of papering a patent. In the best-case scenario, where an application gets stamped, sealed and approved on the first try, an inventor might pony up $15,000.

"That price assumes the inventor is very involved with the application process," says Harry Laxton, a patent lawyer for Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in San Antonio, Texas. "If you just throw documents at the lawyer and expect him to sort it all out, it's going to cost you"--as in, maybe $100,000. Worse, the process might drag on for a decade.

Cheese-Filter Cigarette
Cheese-Filter Cigarette
Cheese-Filter Cigarette (Patent No. 3,234,948)

Millions of people across the world like to smoke. Many also enjoy cheese. Why not combine the two in a cigarette filter made of cheese? That way, you can relax and nibble at the same time--with no toxins left behind! So efficient was this ventricular assault that Stuart Stebbings of De Pere, Wis., patented the idea in 1964.

Middle East Conflict Board Game (Patent No. 5,108,112)

Think Monopoly, except in place of Boardwalk and Indiana Avenue you have spots like "Oil Spill, Lose 1 Barrel" and "Peace Talks" and "Find Saddam, Win 3 Barrels." The game, created by Debra A. Gould of Palmer, Mass., in 1991 and patented in 1992, revolves around a not-so-imaginary war between Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. The object: Collect missiles and oil barrels. The winning player is the one with the most barrels when the game's last missile is fired. (No matter that real-life Saddam lost with no missiles and plenty of oil.)

Method Of Concealing Partial Baldness (Patent No. 4,022,227)

In short: a patent for a multi-directional comb-over, secured in 1975 by Frank Smith and Donald Smith. It reads: "A partially bald person without the financial means can not afford the luxury of such hair coverings. This person, therefore ... can attempt to use his own hair to cover the bald area, but generally most people do not have the ability to properly plan a hairstyle that will look good, and most attempts result in brushing the hair in one direction over the bald area." Only one question remains: How much money does Donald Trump owe these guys?

Grave Attachments - Periscope
Grave Attachments - Periscope
Grave Attachments - Periscope (Patent 901,407)

In 1908 inventor George Willems of Roanoke, Ill., had a swell idea: attaching periscopes to coffins so that, once buried, they could be peeked into to ensure that the entombed person was still dead. For whatever reason, this device hasn't caught on in the mortuary business. Must be hard to landscape all those scopes at the cemetery.

Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force (Patent No. 3,216,423)

With this ostensibly pain-easing contraption, one more fit for a NASA training center than a hospital, the laboring mother is strapped in and spun around at 82 revolutions per minute, fast enough to force the infant out of the birth canal and into the world. Not to worry: There's an internal governor that keeps the machine from going too fast and a cotton-backed net that's mounted below the woman to catch a flying newborn. Four decades later, hospitals still haven't signed on.

Combination Pillow and Crash Helmet (Patent No. 3,538,508)

This really, really good pillow aims to help passengers survive a plane crash. The thing splits in half, so you can stuff your head into the middle and brace for impact, snug with the knowledge that you're protected. The pillow/helmet even has a drawstring at each end so the wearer can cinch it down tight over his or her noggin. When standard turbulence turns into a steep nosedive, get your fluffy crash helmet out and strap 'er down. You'll be fine.

Dust Cover for Dog
Dust Cover for Dog
Dust Cover for Dog (Patent No. 3,150,641)

Don't want your dog getting all dusty? Neither did Seroun Kesh of Detroit in 1964. Actually, Kesh's main goals with this full-body suit for dogs were to protect house furniture and allow owners to insert a hair dryer into the suit's end to quick-dry their mutts after their baths. Not a PetSmart bestseller, to say the least.

Pneumatic Shoe Lacing Apparatus (Patent No. 5,205,055)

Remember those  shoes that Michael J. Fox sports in Back to the Future II--the ones that, with a touch of a button on the shoe tongue, tightened up to a perfect fit, no messy lace tying or hopelessly un-hip Velcro? Aaron D. Harrell figured he'd make those a reality, if a tortuously complicated one: These high-tops require a gas canister on the back of the shoe to power a pneumatic piston in the shoe's sole. The piston turns a crank on the side of the shoe that draws close the straps across the top--no laces needed. Great Scott, Marty, that's ridiculous!

Bird Trap and Cat Feeder (Patent No. 4,150,505)

Leo O. Voelker apparently had a soft spot for lazy cats. His contraption, patented in 1979, catches birds, which fly into a little house with a false floor attached to a downspout and dispenses them uninjured to a cage below, where famished felines move in for the kill. This guy would be a hit at an ornithologists' convention.

Coffee Having a Nicotine Composition Dissolved Therein (Patent No. 6,749,882)

Inventor Stephen Fortune brings together two of man's greatest vices, er, inventions ever. You know those chief executives who love to talk about going to bed at 2 a.m. and getting up at 4 a.m. so they can bench-press 300 pounds, run six miles and practice their backhand saber jabs--all before inking that next $100 million deal? The patent doesn't claim to render sleep irrelevant, but you might require way less of it after your patented morning brew. Slurp it, strap on your pillow crash helmet and prepare for launch.

Butt-kicking Amusement Apparatus
Butt-kicking Amusement Apparatus
User Operated Amusement Apparatus for Kicking the User's Buttocks (Patent No. 6,293,874)

With this device, care of inventor Joe W. Armstrong, users crank a shaft via a two-handed lever, which in turn rotates a pinwheel affixed with four boots. The wheel spins behind the user, giving him a swift kick jab every quarter turn. Who doesn't want a sore behind to go along with his upper body workout?

Musical Instrument Adapted to Emit a Controlled Flame (Patent No. 4,247,283)

For those looking to add a little flare to their trumpeting, simply outfit your instrument with cartridge of flammable gas connected to an ignition switch. So cool it's hot--not.

Fresh-Air Breathing Device and Method (Patent No. 4,320,756)

Inventor William O. Holmes came up with the idea in the early 1980s after rash of fires in high-rise hotels. Holmes' tube-shaped device plunges into a toilet bowl, past the water trap and into the air on the other side, which blows in from the sewage stack pipe. The idea isn't utterly ridiculous, the gist being that trapped users can suck stinky but non-toxic air from the toilet until the fire fighters arrive. Just remember to take a break from pulling air through a toilet long enough to scream for help.

Thong-Type Garment With Wire-frame Construction (Patent No. 6,738,988)

Edward T. Ruiter's and Jacqueline Dugas-Ruiter's patented thong underwear keeps your thong where it belongs and nowhere else. Never mind the obvious threat that all that wire might pose.

Well some of the above mentioned ideas are unique and very impressive. I am a chain smoker and If your thought becomes real, than smoking will turn into good habit..
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