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Unique Patent Inventions (Part-1)

1. Cork Swimming Suit:

“An improved swimming suit or jacket, made to fit and cover the body, composed of combined threads or netting and small pieces or beads of cork, substantially as and for the purpose set forth.”[1]

These were the exact words used to describe the Cork Swimming Suit patented by Paschal Plant in 1882. The purpose of such a quirky garment was to allow “perfectly free motions of the body and limbs”. The principle behind this invention was the buoyancy offered by the tiny air holes in the cork, allowing the wearer to float on water and simultaneously look stylish.

2. One-Wheeled Vehicle:

The One-Wheeled Vehicle is a mode of transport similar to a unicycle, inside which the rider is seated while the wheel surrounding them turns to move the vehicle. Patented by John Otto Lose[2] in 1885, it also comprises a highly functional umbrella that keeps the rider dry throughout. The vehicle may also operate by either clockwork or steam, instead of foot-power.

3. Saluting Device:

“An automatic device for effecting salutations, comprising power-moved mechanism adapted for removable attachment on the head of a person, and a device in the headgear of said person, actuated by the mechanism when the person bows, and operating to lift, turn and then lower the head-gear, as specified.”[3]

This was one of the many descriptions of this invention in its patent.

James C. Boyle, in 1896, patented the “Saluting Device” to help its users display good etiquette. With the ability to automatically lift and rotate the hat as the user pleased, anyone could be greeted, wished or saluted without any effort from the wearer.

4. Rocking Bath Tub:

Otto A. Hensel patented the “Rocking or Oscillating Bath Tub”[4] in 1900. An oscillating bathtub, consisting of a tub provided with an opening where a water-supply pipe, a frame for supporting the tub, a flexible drain-pipe from the bottom of the tub, a lock arranged in the frame to keep the tub in its place, and a detachable cover around the tub to confine the water inside. The purpose of this invention was to splash water against the person inside the tub.

5. Chicken Eye Protectors:

Andrew Jackson Jr., in 1903, patented frames, each having a transparent plate, with an elastic U-shaped strap attached to its ends along with a second strap. This was called the “Eye-protector for chickens”[5], patented in 1903. The purpose of such an invention was to protect the chickens’ eyes from other chickens that could try and peck them. It is still possible to buy a modified version of them today.


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