These are real inventions that the
inventors actually thought would succeed -- as opposed to ideas that
never made it to the drawing board, such as a submarine with a
sunroof, an inflatable dartboard or a helicopter with an ejector
seat (think about it). Last year's list included a pet petter, a
Santa Claus detector, a motorized ice cream cone and toilet seat
To get maximum enjoyment out of this
story, try to imagine what these inventions would look like. If they
were on the market -- and trust me, they're not -- you could
purchase them in order to not "keep up with the Joneses." Here are
10. The keg head: This 9-inch mini keg
sits on the sports fan's head and comes complete with a spigot for
dispensing any type of drink. It's ideal for the fan who doesn't
want to leave his seat for fear of missing a great play.
9. The toilet tank aquarium: I love
inventions that are so descriptively named, because it's pretty easy
to figure out what this one would look like. Have you ever asked
yourself, "Now, why didn't I think of that?"
8. The parachute hat: This one would
work just as you would picture it to work -- if only it would work.
It was probably intended as a way to escape a burning building… OK,
now it makes perfect sense! The parachute hat comes to us from
England, and I sure hope they don't have any plans to export it.
Unless they export it to France.
7. A helmet fitted with a rifle: This
is another contraption dreamed up by those clever British. The
recoil broke a guinea pig's neck during the experimentation phase.
Unfortunately, the guinea pig was a real person.
6. Eyeglasses for chickens: This one
isn't as far-fetched as it sounds, because chickens have been known
to poke at each other's eyes.
[to top of second column in
5. The process of reincarnation or
rebirth, which results in immortality: I wonder if the inventor
created this process in this lifetime or in a previous lifetime? It
kind of makes you wonder what the inventor did for a living in his
4. Training pants for dogs: We'll leave
this one alone.
3. Tricycle lawnmower: Some things were
just meant to go together… like a clock and radio, or chocolate and
peanut butter, but not tricycles and lawnmowers.
2. A coffin with an escape hatch: This
would be ideal for the inventor of No. 5 above.
And the "winner" is…
1. The bird harness. Like each of the
inventions above, this is a true story. It's so bizarre that it
would be impossible to make up this stuff. A lady puts a bird
harness on her bird and goes to the park, only to see her bird get
spooked by the sound of flying ducks, who were spooked by a dog. The
bird -- while attached to the bird harness -- flies to a nearby tree
and gets stuck. As the bird tries to escape, he accidentally hangs
How is it possible that any of these
inventions could receive a patent?
In order to be granted a patent, an
invention must meet three criteria: It must be new; it must be
"unobvious" to people in that particular industry; and it must be
useful. Each of these inventions could be considered new and
unobvious, but it's hard to imagine how they can be considered
If you know
of an invention that should be included in a future story, send me
an e-mail and I might just include it in next year's list.
"Invention Mysteries" is written each
week by Paul Niemann. He can be reached at
© Copyright Paul Niemann 2004