Category:
Patents

Global Warming Solved

Nike recently filed a patent application for "a golf ball that includes carbon dioxide absorbents in order that the golf ball may reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to aid in alleviating global warming."

So if we all just play more golf, that global warming thing should be reversed in no time! [via Mother Jones]

Posted By: Alex - Sat Nov 09, 2013 - Comments (7)
Category: Inventions, Patents, Sports

The Fire Escape Parachute

Patented by Benjamin Oppenheimer in 1879. I wonder if he ever tried testing it.


Be it known that I, Benjamin B. Oppenheimer, of Trenton, in the county of Gibson and State of Tennessee, have invented a new and Improved Fire-Escape, of which the following is a specification.

The accompanying drawing represents a side view of a person with my improved fire escape or safety device, by which a person may safely jump out of the window of a burning building from any height; and land, without injury and without the least damage, on the ground; and it consists of a parachute attached, in suitable manner, to the upper part of the body, in combination with overshoes having elastic bottom pads of suitable thickness to take up the concussion with the ground.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 22, 2013 - Comments (7)
Category: Inventions, Patents, Nineteenth Century

The Scream Muffler



Patent No. 4834212, issued on May 30, 1989 to inventors Moira and Frank Figone.:

There is a need in our complex society for a device which can be placed over the mouth and into which a person may yell or scream but which muffles the sound so others are not disturbed. Such a device would even be more useful if it provided an indication of the intensity of the sound thereby providing feedback to the user.

It is a general object of the present invention to provide a sound muffler which can be placed over the mouth to receive and muffle sound from the mouth. It is a further object of the present invention to provide a sound muffler which provides means for measuring and indicating the intensity of the sound which is muffled.

But there seems to be a prior art issue here, because I did a news search and found a story about a woman, Diane Berkowitz, who was selling a scream muffler in 1987 described as a "silver-colored sphere which opens to reveal some sort of sound-absorbent acoustic foam."

Perhaps the Figones were able to claim their device was unique because Berkowitz didn't add blinking lights to indicate the scream intensity.

Ripley's Believe It or Not - Mar 5, 1987



The White Plains Journal News - Aug 7, 1987

Posted By: Alex - Fri May 22, 2009 - Comments (1)
Category: Inventions, Patents

Sloped Writing

It's not a bad idea, though it has no chance of ever becoming widely adopted. Inventor Paolo Bizziocchi proposes that it would be easier to read text if it were sloped downhill from left to right, so that each new line would be at the same height as the line just finished. This would allow "a quick-reading without mistakes and delays whatsoever."

Bizziocchi filed a patent that includes this helpful illustration:



What I don't understand is how this was patentable. People have been writing with lines at all kinds of crazy angles ever since writing was invented.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 20, 2009 - Comments (7)
Category: Inventions, Patents

Sick Human Detector

A Belgian company has filed a patent for an invention designed to detect sick travelers in airports. They call it a device for the "RECOGNITION AND LOCALISATION OF PATHOLOGIC ANIMAL AND HUMAN SOUNDS."

The idea is to place microphones around airports that will zero in on the sound of people coughing. The people hacking their lungs out can then be prevented from boarding a plane. A less controversial use of the technology is to detect sick pigs in pig pens.

Can people be stopped from traveling because they have a cold? I've never seen that done, but I'd like it (despite the inconvenience to the sick people) 'cause otherwise they infect everyone else on the plane. Though of course, if I were the one kicked off a plane I'd be seeing red. (via New Scientist)

Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 17, 2009 - Comments (10)
Category: Health, Disease, Inventions, Patents, Travel

Burp Gas Filterer

The Burp Gas Filtering Device: Patent No. 7070638, issued July 4, 2006. It serves two functions in one. You can deodorize your burp, and if your dinner companion needs a pen to sign the check, you'll have one to offer.

Burp or eructation odors have been a source of annoyance or concern in polite society for hundreds of years. Far too often, the foods that we love most cause us to belch. To the person who is belching, the odor may be a trifling annoyance, especially if the burp was the result of an enjoyable meal. However, for persons in the close vicinity of the burp, the burp is simply an unpleasant odor of someone else's partially digested food. Many people wish to eliminate the burp odor so as to avoid offending others...
The burp filtering device has the body of a writing pen, with an intake port at the upper end of the body, a plurality of exhaust ports adjacent the writing tip and a filter disposed within the body. The filter may be made of activated charcoal or other media for filtering and adsorbing or absorbing eructation odors. In use, the user holds the upper end of the pny body to his lips, releases the suppressed burp and the filtered, deodorized gas is exhausted through the ports at the writing tip...
Still another object of the invention is to provide a device for eliminating burp odors that also serves as a writing instrument.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Mar 09, 2009 - Comments (11)
Category: Hygiene, Inventions, Patents

The Horse Life Preserver

Patent No. 1265580, issued May 1918:

Be it known that I, Michael Zofchak, a citizen of the United States, residing at Pittsburg, in the county of Allegheny and State of Pennsylvania, have invented new and useful Improvements in Animal Life-Preservers, of which the following is a specification.
This invention relates to life preservers, and more especially it is intended for quick application to a draft horse, pack mule, or other animal which is carrying war supplies and which may possibly be a cavalry horse, so that when a stream or river is reached the animal can swim across with his load and possibly with his driver and the necessity for building a bridge is avoided.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 04, 2009 - Comments (10)
Category: Animals, Inventions, Patents

The history of three-holed panties

After I posted about the "pantyhose garment with spare leg" yesterday, several people pointed out prior art, which to my mind calls into question the validity of the patent.

In the comments, Dumbfounded noted: "In a 1987 Judge Dredd story, the father of child serial killer P.J. Maybe shows off a design for trousers with a third leg, 'in case one wears out'. The spare leg was kept tucked in a pocket when not in use."

And then Chuck recalled that in the first News of the Weird paperback (1989), he included an anecdote from the Wall Street Journal about a Japanese worker who had invented six-day underwear with three leg holes.

I tracked down the WSJ article in question. It ran on Oct. 16, 1987 and described a creativity contest at Honda Motor Co. in which workers were encouraged to design whimsical new products, one of which was indeed underwear with three leg holes: "The garment is supposed to last for six days, with the wearer rotating it 120 degrees each day--and then wearing it inside out for three days."

Other products from the contest included:
  • musical bath slippers
  • a hot tub installed in the back of a car
  • a fig tree that dances to the music of Karen Carpenter
  • a toothbrush with built-in toothpaste
  • a child's motorized sled that climbs back uphill by itself
  • a pillow with an internal alarm
  • and a rickshaw pulled by a manikin made of papier-mache and plaster (designed to resemble Honda's 81-year-old founder, Soichiro Honda)

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 27, 2009 - Comments (8)
Category: Fashion, Underwear, Patents

Happy Cheese Parings Day

Let's take a moment to remember Thor Bjørklund, the Norwegian inventor of the cheese slicer. From Wikipedia:

He was annoyed that he could not get slices as thin as he wanted when he sliced cheese with a knife. Therefore in Lillehammer he began to experiment with a plane in the hope that he could create something similar for use in the kitchen. He succeeded.

And on this day, in 1925, he received a patent for the cheese slicer. According to blather.net, "27 February ever since has been celebrated as osteskorperdagen, 'cheese-parings day', the biggest holiday in the Norwegian calendar, when everyone gorges themselves on thin slices of cheese in the cold, icy streets."

Sounds to me like a good way to spend the day.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 27, 2009 - Comments (8)
Category: Food, Holidays, Inventions, Patents

Pantyhose Garment with Spare Leg

Patent No. 5,713,081, issued Feb 3, 1998:

A hosiery item including a panty member having three absorbent crotch members provided therein, each absorbent crotch member having a pocket formed therein; and three leg portions secured to the panty member in a manner such that an absorbent crotch member is positioned between any two leg portions, each leg portion having a leg insertion opening in connection with an interior of the panty member.

In use the wearer inserts her legs into two of the leg openings in the conventional fashion of donning a pair of pantyhose. The remaining unused leg portion is then gathered and the toe end tucked into the pocket of one of the absorbent crotch members. If a run or hole develops in one of the leg portions being worn, the leg of the wearer can be easily and rapidly removed from the damaged leg portion and placed into the undamaged spare leg portion. The damaged leg portion is then gathered, folded and tucked into a pocket of one of the absorbent crotch members as wearer to select and use any two of the three leg portions for use.

All Weird Universe readers, male and female, are expected to add this to their wardrobes.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 26, 2009 - Comments (13)
Category: Fashion, Patents

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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.

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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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