According to Matt Davies Stockton, at the turn of the 20th century, just around 25,000 patents were filed in the US. In 2020, that number grew to around 350,000. When so many patents are filed, some see commercial success, while others remain as inspirations for future inventors. Let’s check out some strange and inspiring patents throughout history.
1. Loop-to-Loop Double bicycle – Before the era of BMX bicycles somersaulting at skateparks and all kinds of dangerous places, Kay Lang came up with the idea of a bicycle that could do impressive circular loops within a closed track. He designed a double bicycle that was two bikes welded together with one being over the other in the opposite orientation. The rider had a seat encased between the welded bikes.
No one knows how successful Lang was with his experiments. The premise of the design was that two wheels would always be connected to the track irrespective of the rider’s position. However, basic knowledge of physics should tell you that’s a dangerous design. Without a mechanism that could keep the rider secure and without advanced shock absorbers, this bicycle could kill someone. However, with modern technology, this kind of design may be possible with heavy changes. The practicality is questionable.
2. Toilet Mask for the face – At the turn of the 20th century, an eerie-looking face mask was invented by Madame Helen M. Rowley. It was designed to be used by ladies for beautifying and preserving their skin while removing imperfections and blemishes. It looks like it came out from a horror movie and may have inspired a lot of horror movie prop designers.
Rowley claimed that the mask was designed for medical purposes and originally it was made from flexible Indian rubber. The designer intended for women to wear the mask overnight and claimed that it would encourage the opening of the pores through perspiration. The mask eventually became popular and was modified by different manufacturers. However, materials like sulfur, lead, and asbestos were also used in making the product and that caused more skin problems while fixing none.
3. The Dynasphere – Imagine two-wheelers replaced by one giant wheel and you sit inside it during the ride. That’s the Dynasphere developed in the 20th century and has inspired many Sci-Fi authors and movie directors. It was developed by Dr. J.A Purves and was a legitimate alternative road vehicle for the 1930s. To viewers, it would look like a man spinning in a giant donut while making his way to work. Unfortunately, cars were far more practical and that’s why everyone missed out on this cool vehicle.
Matt Davies Stockton suggests that you let your mind go wild and think out of the box to come up with your own inventions and patents. If your patent gets commercial success, you may get a lot of money. Even if it isn’t a commercial success and looks wacky, it may inspire new inventions for the generations of the future.