Ridiculous Devices People Patented
There are lots of weird and funny patents that have been made over the years. Let's find out about the most ridiculous devices people patented.Design
You might fancy yourself as the next big inventor whose ground-breaking creations change lives, but some ideas are probably best kept private. To patent an invention, it needs to meet three 3 key criteria first: it has gotta be novel, inventive, and most importantly, useful. With that in mind, it's unsure how any of the following ridiculous patents ever made the cut!
The Greenhouse Helmet
If you wish you could surround yourself with plants all the time, look no further than the greenhouse helmet, which brings the great outdoors to you! The application for this green-fingered invention was filed in 1985 by Waldemar Anguita, and it’s not just a super-chic fashion accessory for plant-loving hipsters.
The greenhouse helmet is basically comprised of an anti-fog-treated transparent dome that could be fitted over your head, complete with display shelves for small plants, so you can take a much-needed walk in nature anywhere, at any time!
According to the patent, the plants would soak up the carbon dioxide exhaled by the wearer, supplying you with the finest oxygen money can buy in return.
But that’s not all, because the helmet is also complete with a two-way intercom system which lets you communicate with friends in the outside world from inside your own personal plant bubble. Honestly, I’m not convinced that running around with cacti balanced so precariously close to your face is a great idea, it’s no wonder this didn’t catch on.
If there’s one thing kids love and parents loathe is piggybacks, especially when your once-tiny-tot has exceeded the comfortable weight limit for being carried around. Fear not, weary parents, because wannabe inventor Paul R. Harriss has just the thing for you: the daddy saddle, AKA The Daddle!
According to Harriss, all the existing child-carrying paraphernalia like special backpacks and sling-like scarves only accounted for young babies. As a consequence, carrying a fully-grown sprog around is only likely to result in horrifying injuries like back sprain and buckled legs.
The solution is simple; just strap this pimped-up belt around your waist, fit your child’s feet into the tiny stirrups and you’re good to go, cowboy! Thanks to the daddle, you can now walk around with your standing child wrapped around your neck like some parasitic sloth, with no worries about injuring yourself in the process.
The Blonsky Birthing Table
Childbirth is a laborious process, but back in the day, pregnant women were subject to all sorts of hair-brained ideas to try and speed it up a little. One of the most ridiculous inventions patented for assisting childbirth is the spinning birthing table, which was filed in November 1965 by mining engineer George Blonsky and his wife Charlotte.
This idea really was as horrifying as the official patent diagram makes it look. Basically, the pregnant woman would be firmly strapped onto this massive concrete base which would then be rotated at immense speeds to induce centrifugal force.
With the poor mother now screaming and vomiting profusely from sheer nausea, the immense outward spinning force would eventually be enough to ease the baby’s passage, which seems like quite an understatement. What’s worse, the poor woman would undergo this torture in complete isolation, because no midwife would be able to whirl around the table fast enough.
Thankfully, the Blonksys had thought of that too, so the device included a special net to catch the baby in, which is about as close to a "slam-dunk" as a birth can get. It should come as no surprise to you that this invention, which looks more like a medieval torture device, didn’t come to pass, and the Blonskys never had any children of their own.
The Cereal Server
The best kind of inventions are the ones that solve universal problems, and the crispy cereal server is no exception. Ever since John Harvey Kellogg created the humble cornflake back in 1878, breakfast enthusiasts all over the world have suffered in silence thanks to one simple problem: soggy cereal.
Thankfully, in 1990, Davis Alton filed an application for a patent that would provide some light at the end of the tunnel. The crispy cereal server comprised of two bowls working perfectly in tandem: one large, lower bowl filled with milk and a smaller upper bowl housing dry, crispy cereal.
To ensure a satisfying crunch with every mouthful, measured portions of cereal could be routinely sent down the connecting chute where they would plop into the milk, providing you with the perfect mouthful every time.
There you have it, a simple solution that would eliminate your fear of eating spoonfuls of soggy mush by keeping your cereal literally high and dry. It’s a real shame this invention never hit the shelves!
Do you hate being left hanging after initiating a high-five? Worry no more my friend; with the ingenious high-five apparatus, you’ll never have to face the shame of an unreciprocated palm-to-palm celebration again!
This nifty device was thought up by Albert Cohen in 1993, and it’s exactly what it sounds like; a dismembered mechanical arm that is guaranteed to make you look like the loneliest person around.
To receive an artificial high five, all you need to do is position the arm at the desired height and wait for the spring-activated elbow joint to send the upper arm and hand flying in your direction.
Cohen firmly believed that his nifty invention had a whole host of positive uses, besides the apparatus providing what he described as a “convenient outlet for the release of excitement”, even when no one else is around.
Apparently, spending some quality time with the high-five apparatus could also improve hand-eye coordination as well as enhance a person’s "jumping skills" by mounting the arm above eye level. The only drawback is the practicality of carrying a life-sized mechanical arm around with you.
Gardening can be a real chore, especially in the fall when your precious lawn is littered with fallen leaves. Sure, you could grab a rake or a leaf blower to clear up the debris, but where’s the fun in that? Introducing: leaf-gathering trousers, a wearable alternative to garden maintenance that’s sure to be a blast every time!
The inventor of this bizarre invention, Paul Frederic Kinnier, who filed the patent in 2002–described the humble rake as a “cumbersome and strenuous” tool that only provided a one-way ticket to strained backs and blistered hands. His ingenious solution is basically a pair of zip-on, flexible tubes that fit easily over your own pant legs, with a flexible net fastened between them.
The idea is that you just slip these puppies on and take a leisurely stroll around your garden as you accumulate an ever-growing pile of fallen leaves in the process. You may end up waddling around like a penguin but you’ve just gotta power through, are you a hard-core gardener or what?
Automatic Pet Petter
Pets play a big part in many people’s lives, and if cats and dogs around the world had it their way, we humans would be able to hang out with them all the time. The harsh reality is that most of us have places to be and people to see, and that makes being with your furry companion around the clock an impossible task.
That is until Anthony Steffen filed a patent for the automatic pet petter in 2006. This life-saving device would basically act as a stand-in for genuine human interaction by providing canines and felines alike with a much-needed supply of strokes whenever you’re not around.
The device is pretty simple; the animal controls the petting by stepping onto a motion-activated platform which in turn controls an artificial stroking hand. To further the illusion that you’re really in the room and not just a stuffed glove on a stick, the automatic pet petter also allows owners to leave a recording that will play during the petting.
So, if you return home to find your dog has turned into a total narcissist after hearing the phrase “good boy” a thousand times a day, you’ve only got yourself to blame! Unsurprisingly, this is another patent that didn’t come to fruition; there’s just nothing like the real thing.
The Rocking Bathtub
For most people, taking a bath is an opportunity to relax and unwind, but consider this: what if the bathtub wildly oscillated back and forth like a rocking chair instead? It sounds like total madness but this was a pretty attractive idea in the 19th century, when the Victorians became fixated on the potential health benefits of so-called hydrotherapy.
Apparently, simulating the sensation of ocean waves was thought to magically cure a whole range of ailments, which is precisely why American inventor Otto A Hensel filed a patent for this rocking bathtub in 1899.
It was just like a normal bathtub, except fixed to a metal frame that would suspend it slightly off the ground allowing it to rock back and forth, and it was also draped in a massive covering that would be worn up to the bathers’ neck to stop the water from splashing out all over the floor.
That’s right, you could feel the benefits of cutting-edge while simultaneously looking utterly absurd in your own home! Sadly, the whole “hydrotherapy” thing had mostly fallen out of fashion by the turn of the 20th century, so the rocking bathtub never took off.
The Double Bicycle
Humans often dream about doing things that are beyond their capabilities, like flying or performing a loop-the-loop on a bicycle, but according to German inventor Karl Lange, who filed this patent in 1905, nothing is impossible!
What looks like a horrific accident just waiting to happen consists of an ordinary bicycle that is attached to an identical, upside-down bicycle by the handlebars and another tube that extends from the back of the seat. The floating bicycle was also fitted with a cushioned apparatus that would rest on the rider's back to prevent them from being crushed under its weight.
The patent doesn’t go into a whole lot of practical detail, but the gist is that if you somehow approach this specific loop cycling upside-down, and then emerge at the end the right way up, making you the envy of all your friends.
It’s safe to say the invention was never put into practice, mostly because one can assume it’s totally unworkable. Apparently, the double bicycle was created with circus performers in mind, but the reality is that not even the most skilled cyclist would be able to make this thing work. Sometimes gravity can be such a bore!
According to inventor Pat Vidas, who filed this next patent in 1979, traditional musical performances are always much better when they’re accompanied by outlandish special effects, so it made total sense to combine those two things by inventing a total health-and-safety nightmare: the trumpet flamethrower.
Believe it or not, this is a trumpet that emits a deadly plume of flame while the musician is playing to a crowd. According to the patent, the intensity and duration of the flame emitted by the instrument can be easily controlled by the musician by activating a valve that controls the amount of butane gas emanating from a cartridge mounted on the trumpet.
The gas in question is directed through the tubing of the instrument so that it billows from the flared end of the trumpet, where it’s then ignited by a sparking flint coming into contact with a tiny rotating wheel, also operated by the musician.
This doesn’t sound like the smartest idea, anyone playing this thing would surely be one unfortunate sneeze away from accidentally burning the entire theatre down. However, that’s one way to add some extra flare to your Jazz performance.
The Gerbil Vest
Why should it be the case that dog owners get to take their pets almost everywhere they go, but when you take your gerbil to the local Walmart, you get disapproving glares? Thanks to Brice Belisle’s 1997 patent for the Gerbil Vest, you no longer have to worry about being ostracised for bringing your hamsters, gerbils, or guinea pigs out in public.
As you can see in the following patent diagram, the design is pretty simple: it’s basically just a souped-up life vest, but with plastic tubing that wraps around the body, all leading into two small habitat chambers that can be fastened together like a belt.
Forget stuffing your pet mouse in your pocket in shame, you can now proudly present your pets to spectators as they scuttle about those tubes like little kids in a McDonald's play area. Rodent lovers can rejoice at the prospect of jogging with their gerbil, and rolling up to a party with their rats.
Although the patent does warn wearers to “avoid the risk of crushing a pet by avoiding collisions or falls”, the vest never made it into production, for obvious reasons.
So, there you have it, some of the most ridiculous things people have ever patented. Fortunately for us, these dough-brained devices aren’t available in all (or, any) stores. Thanks for reading!