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]


28 December 2013

Bizarre advertising patents

Some advertising seems bizarre, and some patents capture that. Here are illustrations from actual American and British patents, with links to the patent specifications.

There is for example Advertising device, from 1917. The showman is showing an apparent case of perpetual motion, although power is secretly being provided through the uprights. Not really advertising, but that's what the Oregon inventor, Leander Wheatley, called it. 
In a similar vein there is Display device, from 1939. Amilio Antinori of Illinois thought of someone being strapped to the wheel and then being rapidly spun, such as "a performer of an illusion, a lay figure, or merchandise to be displayed." 

Then in 1914 there was Combined scarecrow and advertising device by Samuel Hunter of New York state. Sound effects were to be included to attract the attention of a passerby to the advertising supplied. 

There is also David Leb's Advertising system, where a temporary tattoo is used for advertising on the backs of, for example, boxers. The patent was assigned to Cyber World Group of St Laurent, Canada. 

Turning to the UK, there is Illusionary advertising sign or the like periodically illuminated, from 1915, by a British electrical engineer. It involves the old theatrical trick of turning backlighting on or off so that a scene becomes visible or invisible. 

There is also Devices for exhibition and advertising purposes. It's a British patent by a German citizen, dating from 1926. 

The ingenuity (and, often, naivety) of inventors never ceases to amaze me. 

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