Category:
Inventions

Whistling Accelerators

Accelerators have inspired a number of weird inventions. For example, a few years ago we posted about the "Deaccelerator" which was a device that aimed to prevent speeding by making it harder to depress the pedal in your car once you reached a pre-set speed (usually 50 mph).

We've also posted about an effort to replace the accelerator with a pedal. The faster the driver pedaled, the faster the car would go. This was designed to give drivers some exercise as they commuted to work.

And yet another odd accelerator invention is the whistling accelerator. The idea is that if the accelerator is depressed too rapidly it will produce an annoying whistle. This will remind the driver not to accelerate too quickly, thereby saving gas.

The idea for a noise-making accelerator goes back to a 1958 patent granted to Philip Kershman of Los Angeles. He had rigged up an accelerator so that it would ring a bell if depressed too quickly.

Eighteen years later, in 1976, Henry Merriman of Michigan simplified this idea by replacing the bell with a whistle. He basically took a squeeze toy and attached it to the underside of the accelerator.

Merriman's squawking accelerator



St. Joseph News-Press/Gazette - Apr 30, 1975



Another whistling accelerator was patented in 2012. Its design was more sophisticated, but it was overall the same idea — accelerate too quickly and the thing starts whistling. The patentees described it as a "vehicle fuel efficiency monitor and signalling device".

Personally, I'm content to drive without any bells or whistles attached to the accelerator.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 20, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Inventions, Cars, Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults

The Balance Watch

In 2005, John Paul Castro of Santa Monica, CA was granted a patent (No. 6,840,665) for what he called the "Balance Watch". From his patent:

A balance watch, a combination of two watches, one measuring hours, the other measuring minutes and/or seconds. Each watch is worn on a separate wrist simultaneously.


Based on the quality of the artwork in his patent, it's apparent he chose not to splurge and hire a professional illustrator.

As far as I know, the balance watch never made it to market. But it would seem easy enough to make your own. Get two identical watches. Remove the minute hand from one, and the hour hand from the other. Then wear them simultaneously on opposite wrists.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 17, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Fashion, Inventions, Technology

Cheese-Filtered Cigarettes

We've previously posted about "cheese candy", which was the invention of Wisconsin lumberman Stuart Stebbings. Another of his inventions was cheese-filtered cigarettes. He was, apparently, a man driven to find new uses for cheese.



Lab tests demonstrated that a cheese filter could remove 90 percent of the tar in cigarettes. A hard cheese worked best, such as Parmesan, Romano, or Swiss. Although an aged cheddar could also be used. Or even a blend of cheeses.

In 1966, Stebbings was granted Patent No. 3,234,948. But as far as I know, his cheese-filtered cigarettes never made it to market.

Mason City Globe-Gazette - Feb 8, 1960

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 03, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Food, Inventions, Smoking and Tobacco, 1960s

An apparatus for holding eyelids open

Alexander Barash of Illinois was recently granted a patent for an "apparatus for opening and holding eyelids open" (Patent No. 10842477).

The apparatus includes a supporting platform having a Y-type shape and including an upper beam configured for extending between a nose bridge and a forehead of the patient and for positioning on the forehead, a left leg and a right leg coupled to the upper beam, and configured for straddling a nose bridge of the patient and for positioning on patient's left and right cheeks, and a cross-arm mounted on the upper beam of the supporting platform. The apparatus also includes an opening assembly mounted on the cross-arm and configured for pulling an upper eyelid up for exposing an eye and retaining the eye of the patient in the open position.



I guess that A Clockwork Orange didn't count as prior art.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Dec 12, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Inventions, Eyes and Vision

The Vibro-Helmontholator

A fancy name for a worm catcher.

The Elizabethton Star - Jan 12, 1938



San Francisco Examiner - Dec 16, 1937

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 10, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Inventions, Odd Names, 1930s

Mystery Gadget 90

What's this device do?



The answer is here.

Or after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Thu Dec 10, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Inventions, Technology, 1910s

Static



A quirky, out-of-place worker (Keith Gordon) at a crucifix factory invents a device he claims can show pictures of Heaven. Discouraged and confused by the inability of those around him to see anything but a screenful of static, he charismatically hijacks a bus of friendly elderly people in order to get media attention for his invention.


The director's page.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Dec 05, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Death, Eccentrics, Crackpots, Inventions, Television, 1980s

Comforting Hand Pillow

Madeline Robertson was recently granted a patent for a pillow with a foam hand sewn onto it. She explains that the hand (or 'tactile object,' as she refers to it) "provides tactile sensory feedback to the user designed to comfort the user."

It reminds me of that robotic hand for people who have no one to hold their hand on walks we recently posted about.

Patent No. 10806281: Substrate having a therapeutic tactile object attached

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 30, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Inventions, Sleep and Dreams

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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