I retired in April 2013 after 25 years as a librarian at the British Library specialising in inventions. This included running numerous workshops; writing books on inventions and a work blog; carrying out searches for clients; and one-to-one meetings with inventors. [more]


11 January 2016

Unventional: Ideas too good to patent, book review

Some books about inventions are serious and are designed to enlarge knowledge. Some books about inventions inspire.

And then other books are just plain fun. Madcap, even.

Unventional: Ideas too good to patent by Tom Giesler is definitely in the last category, with madcap humour and superb drawings of Rube Goldberg-like (or, in the UK, Heath Robinson) inventions which are just a bit wacky. They are in the same style as many real patent draftsmen working for inventors to show how the inventions work. This is not a coincidence: besides being an artist, Giesler is himself a patent draftsman. And he even lives in California -- isn't that the place where the crazies come from ? (Just kidding, my wife grew up there).

When I was a patent specialist at the British Library, I had to emphasize how serious and important inventions were, and keep a straight face when someone explained a silly idea. No longer ! Freeze-cones, diaper bowls, burger sheaths -- inventions no one is likely to really need are seriously explained, thought through and illustrated here just as much as worthwhile inventions are explained in the Real Thing on numerous databases. It's the sort of book I'd have loved to have written if I had any artistic talent at all.

Below is a delightful, short trailer about the book.

The book can be bought through the Unventional website.

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