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).
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
8. 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.
7. 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?"
6. 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.
5. 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.
[to top of second column]
4. Eyeglasses for chickens -- This one isn't as far-fetched as it
sounds, because chickens have been known to poke at each other's
3. Training pants for dogs -- We'll leave this one alone.
2. Tricycle lawn mower -- Some things were just meant to go
together... like a clock and radio, or chocolate and peanut butter,
but not tricycles and lawn mowers.
And the "winner" is...
1. The bird harness -- Like each of the inventions above, this is
a true story. This story is so bizarre that it would be impossible
to make up. A lady put a bird harness on her bird and took the bird
to the park, only to see it 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 poor
little bird tries to escape, he accidentally hangs himself.
How is it possible that any of these inventions could receive a
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 useful.
[Text from file received
from Paul Niemann]
Paul Niemann may be reached at
Copyright Paul Niemann 2007