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Unusual Patents and Inventions. Rube Goldberg.
Strange Medical Devices. Absurd and Obscure Patents. Quack Medicine Devices. Impossible Inventions.
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CLICK HERE to Search a Huge Directory of Patent Resources and Information

Sites Featuring Unusual Patents and Inventions

A BBC Article "A Patently Absurd Invention": This is a wonderful treatise on ridiculous inventions in the UK... including, for example: "... Mr Pedrick filed more than 50 patent applications for a succession of weird and wonderful devices in the 1970s. Cat-flap A Cold War era cat-flap to deter intruders Among these was a cat flap connected to an atomic bomb in space. The device was fitted with a colour sensor, designed to admit his ginger cat but block the passage of a neighbour's black moggie. Not only did Mr Pedrick file drawings and specifications for the device, his application recounted his discussions with Ginger (the aforementioned cat) on nuclear physics, for it seems Ginger was a cat of rare intelligence..."

Delphion's Gallery of Obscure Patents
includes such novel inventions as a bird diaper, an inflatable rug that converts into a mattress, etc.

Patently Absurd  "Useless Inventions... Weird Patents" from the UK

Totally Absurd  An archive of America's most absurd inventions.

Weird and Wonderful Patents  Short but sweet.

Weird Website's strange inventions

The Imaginative Inventor 19th c. inventions demonstrating the (sometimes excessive) imagination of the inventor.

Strange Medical Devices and Quackery

Museum of Questionable Medical Devices "Devious Displays of Quackery, Fraud, Deceit and Deception -- the largest collection of medical chicanery and mayhem ever assembled under one roof... "... collection of the hilarious, horrifying, and preposterous medical devices that have been foisted upon the public in their quest for good health. Includes the Prostate Gland Warmer, Phrenology Machine, Recto Rotor, Nose Straightener, Wonder Electro Marvel, and hundreds of other quack devices. With period advertisements, promotional literature, and gadget instructions, this book offers a wealth of past-and-present medical fraud..."

Jeff Behari's Turn of the Century Electrotherapy Museum "Be prepared to be shocked.... In a time when X-rays were used to treat common illness and Radium water was as popular as Perrier... ...Before electrical outlets and electric toasters... there were so-called 'quack medical' devices practically unheard of today --Some of which were VITAL in the development of modern scientific, medical, and electrical apparatus. Many of these devices have yet to be utilized to their fullest potential... ...And, well, others are pure quackery at it's best!...."

Strange Inventions

Strange Inventions Used by Crooked Gamblers From 1933 Popular Science

Individual Patents

Ursus Mark VI Bear Suit  "..... A suit of armor that can withstand the attack of a grizzly bear..... the self-described "close-quarter bear researcher" has spent a decade and $110,000 of his own money assembling and modifying four versions of his suit. "Grizzlies have a lot to offer science," he says, "but you can't get in close to the bear. You die."

"Even though neither Hurtubise nor anyone else has yet worn his suit in an actual encounter with a grizzly, the test-beatings have convinced him that the Ursus Mark VI can provide risk-free proximity to even the grumpiest bear. "This suit, unlike any ever built," he says, jabbing at the air as he speaks, "has not only an exoskeleton, it has an endoskeleton, too. No outside force is touching my body. That's why you can park a truck on it — nothing's going to happen to me."

Invention Museums

Smith College Museum of Ancient Inventions

Invention at Play    "... is a highly interactive, engaging and surprising traveling exhibit that focuses on the similarities between the way children and adults play and the creative processes used by innovators in science and technology. It departs from traditional representations of inventors as extraordinary geniuses who are “not like us‚” to celebrate the creative skills and processes that are familiar and accessible to all people. Visitors of all ages will experience various playful habits of mind that underlie invention."

Strange "Impossible" Inventions

Wacky Patents

The Birthing Toilet

Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force. ".... Child delivery apparatus comprising a turntable, means for supporting said turntable for rotational movement about a vertical axis and enabling a patient to be positioned in child bearing position on said turntable radially of such vertical axis and with her head located in the proximity of the center of rotation of said turntable, means connected to said supporting means for rotating said turntable at given controlled rotational speeds, means connected to said turntable for holding the patient's body on said turntable in said radial position against dislodgement relative thereto by the centrifugal forces created by the rotational movements of said turntable, means connected to said turntable for preventing undesirable distortion of certain parts of the patient's body under such centrifugal forces, and means for receiving the child delivered by the patient...."

Another Cool Rube Goldberg...

Patents in News

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Rube Goldberg Inventions

Rube Goldberg's US Postage Stamp

"Man will always find a complicated means to perform a simple task" -- Rube Goldberg


The Ultimate Ramen Soup Maker!

Rube Goldberg Website

Some Amazing Rube Goldberg Inventions include:

  • How to Keep Shop Windows Clean
  • Simplified Pencil Sharpener
  • Dodging Bill Collectors
  • Keep from Forgetting to Mail your Wife's Letter
  • Picture Snapping Machine
  • Safety Device for Walking on Icy Pavements
  • How to Keep the Boss from Knowing you are Late for Work
  • How to Tee up a Golf Ball Without Bending Over
  • Our Special Never-Miss Putter
  • Golf Inventions

 RUBE GOLDBERG is the (TM) and (C) of Rube Goldberg Inc.

Toonpedia's Rube Goldberg Page

Smithsonian's Oral History Interview with Rube Goldberg

Rube Goldberg in Creative Contraptions

Rube Goldberg Contests

Rube Goldberg Contest at Purdue "... Inspired by cartoonist Rube Goldberg, college students nationwide compete to design a machine that uses the most complex process to complete a simple task - put a stamp on an envelope, screw in a light bulb, make a cup of coffee - in 20 or more steps. The competition is sponsored by the Purdue University campus chapter of Theta Tau, a professional engineering fraternity...." (See their RubeMachine site for rules, videos, history, etc.)

Rube Goldberg Contests for High Schools "... The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest is named after cartoonist Reuben Lucius Goldberg, the spirit of whose work inspires the contest's weird machines and crazy mechanism. For 55 years Goldberg's award-winning cartoons satirized machines and gadgets which he saw as excessive. His cartoons combined simple machines and common household items to create complex, wacky, and diabolically logical machines that accomplished mundane and trivial tasks. His inventions became so widely known that Webster's Dictionary added "rube goldberg" to its listing, defining it as "accomplishing by extremely complex, roundabout means what seemingly could be done simply." During his life, Goldberg's drawings included sports cartoons, comic strips, and political cartoons, but he is best known today for his ridiculously complex machines.... Rube Goldberg Machine Contests bring Goldberg's cartoons to life in a way that pulls students away from traditional ways of looking at problems and sends them spinning into the intuitive, chaotic realm of imagination. The resulting inventions are collections of bits and pieces, parts of now useless machines, scraped together to achieve an innovative, imaginative, yet somehow logical contraption to conquer the job at hand. The contest shows us all the need for simplicity and the pitfalls of complexity..." CLICK HERE for the rest of the story.

Japanese "Rube Goldberg"

Unuseless Japanese Inventions

In Japan Kenji Kawakami is famous for his tireless promotion of Chindogu: the art of the unuseless idea. Meant to solve problems of modern life, these bizarre and logic-defying gadgets and gizmos are actually entirely impractical.... Drymobile (your laundry dries as you drive), the Solar-Powered Torch (never runs low on batteries), Duster Slippers for Cats (now the most boring job around the house becomes hours of fun...for your cat!), Walk 'n' Wash Ankle-attachable Laundry Tanks (a perfect solution for the problems of inadequate exercise and hygiene), and many, many more...

These hilarious inventions have taken Japan by storm. Every one of the items in The Big Bento Box of Unuseless Japanese Inventions has actually been manufactured to the highest standards, fully tested by pioneering members of the Japanese public, and documented in their unuselessness with 442 color photographs.

See below for actual books you can buy ...


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