Meet the Baby Cage: the Mother of All Bad Ideas

What do you do when you live in a high-rise city apartment building and your infant wants to get some fresh air? Why, you set the little crumb cruncher precariously in a flimsy contraption, let it hang out the window, and your problem is solved, of course. Not convinced? Maybe you're just not seeing the... Continue Reading →


Close Doesn’t Count in Patent Race 

February 14, 1876 was a big day for Elisha Gray. That was the day he filed his application for a patent for his revolutionary new invention. His device promised to unite the world as never before by allowing a person to speak to and hear another person miles away by sending the voices through a... Continue Reading →

Wiping Away Doubt About How to Hang Toilet Paper

It has been listed as one of the top causes of marital strife. It has divided families, torn friendships asunder, and generated more letters to advice columnist Ann Landers than any other topic. What could be such a controversial subject? The Presidential election? The latest Supreme Court opinion? The favored team for the World Series?... Continue Reading →

Mark Twain: Patently Multi-Talented

Mark Twain was much more than an accomplished author. He was also an inventor who was awarded patents for three different innovative devices. Ironically, because of his inventions, this well-known author's most profitable book was blank. A lifelong lover of scrapbooks, Twain thought there had to be a better way to save pictures and clippings. When... Continue Reading →

Like Your TV? Thank Philo T. Farnsworth

One of the least-recognized yet most-influential inventors of the 20th century is unquestionably Philo T. Farnsworth. Born in Beaver, Utah on August 19, 1906, Farnsworth was a talented scientist from a young age. He began his inventing career in grade school by converting his family's home appliances to electric power. During his high school years... Continue Reading →

Because When You’ve Got to Go, Every Second Counts

Katherine Marie LeBeau received Patent #3,517,423 on June 30, 1970 for a "Fluid-Operated Zipper." These are for the moments when the need to go is so great that you can't spare the time or energy to manually operate your zipper. This amazing device makes use of "available fluids" and automatically releases the zipper, bringing relief... Continue Reading →

Maybe It’s the Inventor Who Needed a Swat on the Bottom

Thomas V. Zelenka was awarded Patent 3,552,388 in 1968 for a motor-driven device that attaches to a baby crib and gently pats the sleeping baby on the bottom with a padded mitten. One can't help but wonder if the invention would have gained more popularity with a revved-up motor and marketed as a hand-free spanker.... Continue Reading →

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