Fly-Operated Turtle

Patent No. 1,591,905, granted to Oscar C. Williams of San Diego, CA in 1926, described this curious device.

It was a toy turtle. Its body was made of wood or aluminum, while the head, legs, and tail were made from lightweight cork. The user was supposed to insert several flies into the hollow body of the turtle. Their agitations once inside, as they sought to escape, would then cause the movable parts of the turtle to wag from side to side, as if the creature was alive.

I can see several drawbacks. First, you would have to catch some flies and maneuver them (alive) into the turtle. This was done by squeezing them through the leg hole. Handling a fly in this way seems like it could be a challenge.

And once in there, I imagine you'd have to wait until the flies died to get them back out. So, essentially, it was a fly torture device.

     Posted By: Alex - Sun Dec 22, 2019
     Category: Insects and Spiders | Inventions | Patents | Toys | 1920s

Either those are very large flies or that is one small turtle.
Posted by ges on 12/22/19 at 11:28 PM
Forget the leg holes, just drill a hole in the turtle's belly and put a good old cork in it.
Posted by Yudith on 12/23/19 at 08:10 AM
Yudith -- that seems like such an obvious solution that I wondered why the inventor didn't think of it. The only reason I can think of is maybe he didn't want any loose parts that could get lost.
Posted by Alex on 12/23/19 at 08:29 AM
Why not hinge one side of the top shell, put some bait inside, have it open enough for a fly to enter, snap it closed. When they're done, open it, shake out the corpses, reset.
Posted by Phideaux on 12/23/19 at 05:13 PM
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