CROSSROADS Language Studio’s Newsletter May, 2023 Crazy Inventions


It has often been said that there are no limits to human imagination. For millennia, inventors, scientists and others have been coming up with ideas that have profoundly changed the way we live; take the mobile phone as just one recent example. And yet, for every successful invention that has made it to a production line, there are probably tens, even hundreds, of thousands of patents for every conceivable type of contraption still waiting to get onto the market. Some of these may be worthy of development, perhaps in the future, but it is safe to say that many will never make it that far.
Here are a few examples that hold patent rights but are wistfully sitting in limbo filed away in a patent office somewhere hoping to be “discovered” by a venture capitalist/investor; and it’s easy to see why.
Take, for example, the Fork Timer. It was patented in 1995 in the USA. The idea is to help you with your dieting by slowing down your intake of food. After you place some food in your mouth, a red light on the handle comes on. You then have to wait until the light turns green before taking another morsel of food using this fork. You see, according to the inventor, slowing down your intake of food can help you lose weight.
As everyone knows, a dog’s life is much shorter than a human’s, perhaps seven times shorter. So how are dogs, or their owners, going to keep track of “dog time” with respect to their life expectancy? A Doggy Watch, of course. It works by multiplying the duration of seconds, minutes and hours by a factor of 7, so 24 hours of normal human time equals 168 hours of dog time, 1 week equals 7 weeks, etc. For Fido, time flies, but you always knew dogs had their own sense of time, right?
Now, you know how much you hate licking stamps and envelopes to moisten the adhesive agent on them when sealing an envelope or affixing a stamp. This invention frees your tongue from the indignity of ever having to do this again. As you push this contraption’s “tongue” out with the plunger, it passes over an internal wet pad, gets moist and, voila, instant wet tongue!
Okay, you don’t like going to the golf range to practice your tee shots, but when it comes to a friendly round on the golf course, you can never get the length you want off the tee. Here’s the answer: the Ball Spring-loader.
It’ll get you from one end of the fairway to the other in a single shot; and as a bonus, it converts to a normal putter once you get onto the green. Now, that’s my style of golf….
“Inventions’ like these seem to be totally ridiculous, but consider some of Leonardo da Vinci’s concepts, say his flying machines. From today’s perspective, he was a genius, years ahead of his time, but what did people think of his ideas 500 or so years ago when he first came up with them? A flying machine? Was he off his rocker? He never actually built one of his “flying machines” and this may have been seen as proof that he was not a little crazy. Yet, today every one of his concepts for air travel, and more, is in use, so, who’s to say that some day, “dog-time” won’t be useful….

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