Patently Absurd: The Most Ridiculous Devices Ever Invented

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There are a few groundbreaking patents that the world is eternally grateful for and lots that are useful and practical, but this book does not include any of those. What it does include are patents of the wackiest, weirdest inventions that never made it into mass production.

Patently Absurd shows designs of eccentric inventions from all over the world, including the U.S.A., Europe, and Japan. Take the Dust Cover for Dog that zips up your ...
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Overview

There are a few groundbreaking patents that the world is eternally grateful for and lots that are useful and practical, but this book does not include any of those. What it does include are patents of the wackiest, weirdest inventions that never made it into mass production.

Patently Absurd shows designs of eccentric inventions from all over the world, including the U.S.A., Europe, and Japan. Take the Dust Cover for Dog that zips up your unwilling pet into a suit guaranteed to make it want to leave home and find another owner. Or the Amphibious Bicycle for those riders who feel the uncontrollable desire to plunge into the nearest lake and cycle across it to reach dry land again.

The United Kingdom claims to have the longest continuous record of granting patents. The earliest known patent was granted by King Henry VI in 1449 to John of Utynam, who had his own method of making stained glass. The United States passed its first patent law in 1790, and in 1836 founded the US Patent Office—now the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The patents included in this book reach as far back in time as the early nineteenth century right through to the present day, showing the range and scope of unusual designs thought worthy of patenting throughout history. Atypical of most patents, the inventions included here are guaranteed to make you laugh, though unlikely to make you want to own one of your own.

Christopher Cooper studied physics at London and Durham Universities, but made his career writing and editing books that explain science and technology to the public. The books he has written or co-authored include How Everyday Things Work, How Does It Work?, Matter, and The Solar System. He has edited books ranging from Technology: A History of Man's Inventive Genius and The Practical Astronomer to The Search for Infinity: From Quarks to the Cosmos, and The Natural History of the Universe. This is this least serious book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760753736
  • Publisher: Sterling Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/2/2004
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 8.08 (h) x 0.56 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2004

    Laughing all the way to the bank?

    I found 'Patently Absurd' by Christopher Cooper a very entertaining book, though because of its small size it did not have many selections in the category of 'totally impossible.' Although the USPTO rejects patent applications for some items, such as flying saucers, and perpetual motion machines, none of the issued patents of such items were included. I am sorry it didn't include Siphon Hydroelectric Generator (U.S. Pat. No. 6,359,347, March 19, 2002 (Wolf).) I have also come across a patent for a saucer-shaped flying machine, but don't recall the inventor. I think Mr. Wolf must be laughing (or howling?) all the way to the bank! Another invention of absurd dimensions is Furner's 72-channel sound system, one of the longest patents ever issued (U.S. Pat. No. 4,251,688). I was surprised by the number of recent patents included, some as late as 2003. Evidently, there are still a few inventors out to get a laugh by patenting something that is, as the title says, 'patently absurd!' I'd like to see an expanded volume with more and similar examples.

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