PATENTS ~ Nutty or Novel? (Aug, 1929)

Let’s see:

  • Monowheels have actually gotten a bit popular in the last few years.
  • This company sells marine salvage airbags.
  • I don’t think many people encase their loved ones’ corpses in glass, but I did go to this exhibit which was pretty amazing.
  • Poison bottles seem to have a long history.
  • And forget about pictures, we have actual glow in the dark cats now.

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    PATENTS ~ Nutty or Novel?

    Believe it or not, every device illustrated on these pages has been granted a patent by the government. Nutty or Novel — which?

    Air-Filled Balloons Salvage Sunken Ships

    SEEKERS after sunken Spanish galleons loaded with pieces of eight will have to equip themselves with balloons in addition to horse pistols, cutlasses, and other piratical impedimenta if they are to be strictly up-to-date in the matter of ship salvaging. The drawing at the left, taken from patent office records, shows how one inventor proposes to raise sunken ships by hooking deflated balloons into the rigging. When air is blown into the balloons through the tubes the buoyancy thus gained is expected to send the wreck shooting to the surface, and there you are. All you have to do is tow the ship to port, cash in on your work, and go out again to repeat the performance. Of course, if a school of swordfish should happen along and puncture the balloons the ship would sink to the bottom again.

    Novel One-Wheeled Vehicle Propelled by Hand Crank

    “Over the hill and down the dale we go, on a unicycle built for one”— or words to that effect. The new idea for individual transportation at low cost, shown in the drawings below, has been patented by its inventor. If one gets tired of whirling along in the wheel for relaxation, it is easy for the driver to sell his services to sportsmen who would like to have their tennis courts flattened out under a good roller. A study of the patent drawing, shown in the insert, shows how motion is accomplished. The gentleman in the driver’s seat seems to have but one leg, no eye at all, and a mustache whose delicate curl must require his constant attention.

    Glass Cubes Preserve Departed Ancestors

    CEMETERIES will be as out of date as yesterday’s newspaper if the inventor of this idea for pouring glass over the dead, illustrated above, succeeds in convincing the public that a nice rectangle of cut glass is what the well dressed corpse will wear. Presumably the glass can be tinted in shades of pink, green or lavender to suit the personality of the deceased. When a sufficient number of relatives have passed on and have been properly glassed in, a very attractive gallery of ancestors can be arranged in the basement, along the front porch, or in an odd corner of the attic. Visitors can be admitted at the discretion of proprietors of the museum, and if the family is so fortunate as to own a well-known murderer in its collection, a neat sum can be collected by selling tickets of admission at a modest fee. Visiting children, however, must be carefully warned not to chip the glass by throwing stones and other missiles.

    Luminous Cat Picture Frightens Timid Mice

    INSTEAD of laying out money for cheese and traps, the housewife who wants to rid her home of mice can secure a life size picture of a cat which is covered with a luminous substance guaranteed to scare a mouse out of a week’s growth. Once the cat pictures have been placed in strategic spots through the house, a mouse exodus which would delight the Pied Piper of Hamelin is bound to follow—little mice, big mice, and in-between mice treading on each other’s heels in their eagerness to get away from there.

    Skull Marker for Poison Liquor

    DESIGNED especially to warn grandpa that he has grabbed the carbolic acid instead of mouth wash when he reaches for a bottle in a darkened medicine chest, the skull-shaped container pictured at the left is also an appropriate bottle for bootleggers to use in delivering their product, some of which is reported to react on the human system in much the same way as prussic acid. With its touching reminder of what you will look like if you drink its poisonous contents, the skull bottle has been granted a patent by the government as a safety aid, the idea being that you will stop, look and listen when you uncork the skeleton in your closet. The bottle can also be used to scare the children when they are misbehaving.

  1. Alex says: April 11, 201111:08 am

    I love the mono wheel! Personally though I would make one much bigger and make it steam powered since it makes me think of everything steampunk.

  2. Hirudinea says: April 11, 20113:38 pm

    Preserver dead relitives in a glass cube? What am I, a Pharoh!? As for the glow in the dark cat painting the mice probably died from the radiation from the luminous paint.

  3. John says: April 11, 20114:55 pm

    Hirudinea: No, Pharaohs had to know how to spell.

  4. Hirudinea says: April 11, 20117:49 pm

    @John – Actually hieroglyphics were a mix of phonemic and lographic so spelling didn’t have much to do with it. Oh and what I did was a typo. 🙂

  5. John says: April 11, 20118:07 pm

    Hirudinea: Preserver? relitives? If you say so…

    And they still had to draw hieroglyphs so they could be read.

  6. rick s. says: April 12, 20118:52 am

    To pour glass over anything, it would have to be molten. It can be worked (bent, stretched etc) at around 1350 F but to be “pourable”, as the article states, it needs to be in excess of 2000 F (1100 C). I can’t imagine what kind of shape a body would be in after having had molten glass poured over it. I doubt that it would look anything like those on display in the pictures. The “inventor” was obviously not thinking but how could the editors let that one get by?


  7. Jari says: April 12, 20119:23 am

    Of course it makes a perfect sense to have several ~5 ton glass cubes in the attic…

  8. Jari says: April 12, 20111:11 pm

    @rick s. That’s what I thought also, but apparently there’s a trick:…

  9. rick s. says: April 12, 20111:31 pm

    Thanks for the link, Jarl. Interesting. I’ve worked with sodium silicate before . . . using it to waterproof matches, which worked well, and in the past it was also used to preserve raw eggs without refrigeration by closing the minute pores in the shell. Basically it puts a thin coating on the item something like shellac would do. However i still can’t see how even many, many layers of that material could insulate and protect a corpse from molten glass at 2000 degrees F.


  10. Jari says: April 12, 20111:58 pm

    Yeah, I actually doubt that also. Immediate vaporizing of fluids and such, when you consider the masses of the body and glass needed. Not a pretty sight, I guess……. :/

  11. Hirudinea says: April 12, 20114:07 pm

    @John – Typos, Typos, ALL Typos! (Plus I can’t spell for a damn! 😉 )

  12. Charlene says: April 12, 20117:42 pm

    They still sell those glow-in-the-dark cat things in gardening catalogues. My mother had one; it didn’t scare anything but me, once, at 2 AM. One squirrel tried to mate with it.

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