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Thursday, March 29, 2012

da Vinci They're Not

Plato mused in his dialogue The Republic that “necessity is the mother of all invention.” I've also heard desire called the catalyst of invention ... but that's neither here nor there.

Humans are an inventive, tool and technology designing bunch; a search of the U.S.
Patent and Trademark Office website,, yields sufficient evidence of that. But for every invention that “makes it” there are countless others that get swept into the dustbin of history. Not every invention can be the Shoe Dini.

Speaking of "out-of-left field" designs, the concepts of emergency preparedness and response have inspired inventions that, for one reason or another, never fomented the manic enthusiasm of American consumers like the iPad. Go figure.

Below are a couple dubious inventions that in retrospect seem—how should I put this--askew. For fun, I’ve included some imagined marketing copy for the products. You may find it difficult to differentiate between the items' suggested and actual uses.

Figure 1
Is Figure 1:

a new piping bag attachment designed to help cake decorators "clean" the last schmear of buttercream out of the piping bag--waste not, want not;

a snowstorm mask to shield your face from the wintry mix of cold wind and blowing snow in winter; or

a microphone for that person who STILL--despite constant nagging ... I mean loving reminding--doesn't know the difference between indoor and outdoor voices or when each is appropriate.

Is Figure 2:

Figure 2
a diaper containment cart for new parents with a rep for losing their lunch at the smell of a soiled diaper but nonetheless responsible of taking out the garbage;

a strolling smoker for the itinerant homecook who craves "low and slow" flavor but gets stir crazy babysitting the thermostat on their backyard grill; or

a gas-resistant stroller marketed to parents who under the threat of chemical attack suspended their weekly Sunday strolls through the neighborhood.

Got another idea for how one of these items might be used? Submit you captions as a comment by clicking "Post a Comment" at the bottom of the page.

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