The American patent system has created some innovative and life-changing products, but it has pumped out even more useless or just plain weird inventions as well. Anyone can patent their inventions if they’ve got enough cash and entrepreneurial spirit, but that doesn’t mean they should. This bit of common sense is supported by five of the strangest inventions ever patented.
5 Anti-Eating Face Mask
Obesity is a problem in the United States and diets are hard to stick to. This is the basic, probably well-intentioned idea behind the anti-eating face mask, for which a patent was filed in 1980. The problem is that it essentially makes the wearer look like Hannibal Lector. The weirdest and most disturbing part of this invention is the little padlocks shown in the diagrams. There’s also the chilling and very real possibility that someone might buy it to lock up an obese loved one’s face.
4 Doll Urn
The doll urn, patented in 2009, keeps deceased loved ones close to your heart—in the head of a cute little doll. You simply take off the head, pour in the charred remains of Aunt Bessie or beloved pal Rover, and stick the head back on so you can cuddle the ashes without any mess. The doll also has a recorder so you can play a message. It’s hard to imagine how a cute little toy that holds dead things and that can talk could freak anyone out.
3 Combined Cap and Baseball Mitt
Imagine you’re in the park, minding your own business, when suddenly you find yourself in the middle of a baseball game. Well, fear not sports fans, someone invented and then filed a patent for a handy cap perfect for just such an occasion. The combined cap and baseball mitt, which was patented in 1988, is a baseball cap that doubles as a mitt. Basically, put the hat on your head and when a ball flies at you, take the cap off, squeeze your hand into the sleeve and catch the ball in one fluid, ninja-fast motion.
2 Magnetically Attaching Templeless Eyewear to a Person
Temples is the term given to the arms that fit behind your ears so your specs stay on your face. According to the inventor of the system for magnetically attaching templeless eyewear to a person, which was filed in 1996, temples are uncomfortable and can cause permanent creases on your head, so he went about creating something that didn’t need temples. This strange invention requires that you stick adhesive magnets to the side of your head so that the customized eyeglasses curve around and the metal ends “stick” to the magnets to hold the glasses in place. No, that doesn’t sound the least bit uncomfortable.
1 Flatulence Deodorizer
No one wants to smell it after they’ve dealt it, and you don’t want anyone to know you dealt it either. Good thing someone invented the flatulence deodorizer. The patent for this invention was filed in April 2000. It’s essentially a pad for your butt that absorbs your gas emissions and also muffles the sound. If you can get over the fact that you’re wearing a diaper, it’s not a terrible idea.