Inventions Necessity is Not the Mother Of by Stacy V. Jones

An excerpt from the book Inventions Necessity is Not the Mother of by Stacy V. Jones, a collection of unique and bizarre inventions in the United States.

INVENTIONS NECESSITY IS NOT THE MOTHER OF. By Stacy V. Jones. New York: Quadrangle, 1973.

About the book: The range of inventions which have been patented in the U.S. since 1790 is truly extraordinary. Stacy Jones, the patent columnist for The New York Times, has presented over 300 of the most unusual ones with accompanying illustrations. Here you will learn about a golf ball that sends out a smoke signal when it lands to help its owner locate it, an alarm clock that squirts the sleeper in the face, a parakeet diaper, a cigarette pack that starts coughing loudly when someone picks it up, and many other inventions you never realized that you needed.

From the book: Inventors have produced many aids to feminine beautification. A striking example, patented by Martin Goetze of Berlin, Germany, in 1896 is a device for producing dimples. The instrument looks like a brace and bit. The knob or bit--which is to be made of ivory, marble, celluloid, or India rubber--is pressed on the site selected for the dimple and a massaging cylinder revolves around it as the handle is turned.

Perhaps to avoid complaints from the children, Clair R. Weaver and Mary A. Weaver of Long Beach, Calif., devised a pie cutting guide that assures everybody an equal share. Mom can place over the pie a metal pattern with slots for 4, 5, or 6 equal slices. Then, as shown in the 1963 patent, all she need do is run a knife blade through the channels.

Medical science has surely progressed since 1854, but at least 2 inventions recorded in that year are still of interest. One is the trap for removing tapeworms from the stomach and intestines patented by Alpheus Myers, M.D., who practiced in Logansport, Ind. Dr. Meyers described his invention as a trap that is baited, attached to a string, and swallowed by the patient after a fast of suitable duration to make the worm hungry.

As the patent explains, the worm seizes the bait and its head is caught in the trap, which is then withdrawn from the patient's stomach by the string which has been left hanging from his mouth, dragging after it the whole length of the worm.

The trap consists of a cylinder of gold, platinum, or other metal, about 3/4" long and 1/4" in diameter. The bait may be "any nutritious substance." When the worm sticks its head in through a hole, it releases a spring and is caught behind the head. Dr. Myers cautions that the spring must be only strong enough to hold the worm and not strong enough to cut its head off.

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