July 4, 2022

It’s the Fourth of July, 2022, and time to celebrate the holiday, as this blog always does, with patents.

We begin with the appropriately named Fourth of July Echinacea, the subject of PP26075, issued November 10, 2015:

U.S. Patent No. PP2605, Fig. 2.

Edward Driscol, Jr. was issued U.S. Patent No. 250507 on December 6, 1881, for a Toy Whip that used caps to make a cracking sound.

U.S. Patent No. 250507, Fig. 1

according to Mr. Driscol:

U.S. Patent No. 250507, Col. 2, ll. 41-46.

Inventor Louis Schuetz of Newark, New Jersey, was also concerned with entertaining the children on the Fourth of July, and received U.S.Patent No. 370,356 for his Toy on September 20, 1887.

U.S. Patent No. 370,356, Col. 1, ll, 16-26.

Miniature cannons and fire crackers — what a blast.

U.S. Patent No. 370356

Another inventor perhaps focus more on Fourth of July fun, rather than safety, was Edwin H Cady, of Gardner, Massachusetts. He received U.S. Patent No. 423215 on March 11, 1890, for a Toy Detonator:

U.S. Patent No. 423215

Lastly, inventor William G. Spiegel, of New York, N.Y, invented a Time-Lock for Savings-Banks, which received U.S. Patent No. 474870 on May 17, 1892.

U.S. Patent No. 474870

The bank was specifically designed to help children save for the Fourth of July — likely to fund the purchase of fireworks and perhaps Mr. Schuetz’ and Mr. Cady’s inventions:

U.S. Patent No. 474870, Col. 1 ll. 23-28.

Juneteenth 2022

Juneteenth is actually June 19th, but this most recent Federal Holiday, is celebrated this year on June 20th. Although the federal holiday is new, first recognized in 2021, it had been recognized ever since the June 19, 1865, event it commemorates.

Juneteenth has only be mentioned in two patents: U.S Patent No. 8,136,962, and 11,281,738. However, on the trademark side, things have been more active — particularly recently. There are 36 pending applications and issued registrations on marks including the term JUNETEENTH, 33 of which were filed in the last three years. Trademark filings remain a good indicator of what’s on peoples’ minds — and right now its Juneteenth.

Happy Fathers’ Day!

There aren’t very many patents that mention Father’s Day, so the patent of the day is actually a patent application (US20160026974), which display an appropriate sentiment. Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there, and thanks!

June 14, 2022 — Flag Day 2022

Flag Day is celebrated on June 14, the anniversary of the 1777 adoption of the first “American” flag by the Continental Congress. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; on August 3, 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress, although Flag Day is not an official federal holiday.

There are plenty of patents with patriotic themes, including flag displays, but only a handful expressly mention “flag day.” One of these is U.S. Patent No. 4,872,794 on a Flagstaff with Protective Housing, which provides a protective cover for a flag when it is not on display:

Happy Flag Day. Go celebrate its 245th birthday.

June 6, 2022 Patent of the Day

June 6, 2022, is the 78th anniversary of the D-Day landing at Normandy. Among the thousands of people who contributed to is success was inventor Andrew Higgins. Higgins was a boat builder and his low draft boat hull design — patented in 1939 (U.S. Patent No. 2,144,111) was well suited for landing on shallow beaches without damaging the propeller.

Higgins later design — for a landing craft with a deployable ramp (U.S. Patent No. 2,341,866) was adopted by the U.S. Navy. Higgins filed this patent application on the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and in issued four months before the D-Day landing It has been estimated that at one point during WWII, 90% of the Navy’s fleet were boats designed by Higgins.

On D-Day, more than 4,000 Allied soldiers lost their lives, and many more were wound or went missing, However, many more owe their lives — and the success of the landing — to Louisiana boat builder and inventor, Andrew Higgins.

Groundhog Day: Thank you Mr. Sowerby

The purpose of the patent system is to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. It does so in two ways: First, it incentives invention by providing inventors exclusive rights to new inventions for a limited time. Second, it encourages disclosure and provides a database of information in the form of millions of technical disclosures about all sorts of topics. It is amazing what you can learn from patents, and one such fun fact appropriate for today is that the last name of Punxsutawney Phil, the hero of the day, is Sowerby! This fun fact appears in U.S. Patent No. 10296823, which in Col. 34, lines 21-30, explains the difference between connection and dependency with a Groundhog Day Example:

Merry Christmas 2021

Merry Christmas, and warm wishes that you can celebrate safely and happily with your friends and family, Celebrating Christmas is a long standing tradition, and the U.S. patent collection documents a steady stream of inventive effort to make Christmas happier and safer. Once of the earliest references to Chistmas in the patent collection is this patent from 1867 on a candllestick for a Christmas tree:

A few years later, an improved Candle Holder was patented with a more patriotic bent:

The fascination with open flames continued, and later that same year, a patent issued on a candle-powered Rotating Christmas Tree:

By 1872, someone finally came up with the idea of at least enclosing the flame in a Wax-Lantern, no doubt saving many trees (and Christmases):

However, candles remained in use and efforts continued to improve them in the 1870’s and 1880’s:

It wasn’t until 1891, when its was proposed to apply electric lighting to Christmas trees:

Best wishes to all for a happy holiday season, and an innovative 2022.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The patent collection is an underused resource for solutions, and yes, it contains a solution to the biggest problem of the day. Back in 1980, Lucy Barmby invented a solution to overeating on Thanksgiving (and every other day):

Lucy Barmby’s U.S. Patent No. 4,344,424 on an Anti-Eating Face Mask.

Lucy may have solved the problem of turkey and pecan pie, but it looks as if gravy is still a threat. Beware, and have a happy holiday with family and friends.

Veterans: Thank You for your Service

November 11 is Veteran’s Day, and a chance to thank all veterans for their service. Because of their willingness to defend us, we enjoy the freedom to live largely as we choose to and to pursue our interests. U.S. Patent No. 1,429,506 issued September 19, 1922, is, literally, a salute to veterans:

The invention is a doormat-operated animated figure, which issues a salute to someone who steps on the mat. The patent describes the figure as “an American Veteran of the World War,” not contemplating on December 4, 1919, when the application was filed, and the ink on the November 11, 1918, armistace barely dried, that we would soon again call on our soldiers to defend us in a second world war, and a number of other conflicts since.

To all verterans, thank you for your service and for our freedom.