We’re heading towards Christmas, and the Dawn Ellmore team have been researching festive patents. The festive period seems to encourage lots of innovation from people aiming to solve Christmas problems, ranging from the serious to the silly. Here are ten patents from the last 100 years we found fascinating.
Patent number 1: Automatic fire extinguisher Christmas decoration
Patent number US 2522020 was granted in 1947 for an automatic fire extinguisher for use on Christmas trees. Back then, many people used candles on their trees, leading to obvious problems. Inventor Leonard C Deyo came up with the perfect solution for anyone worried about fire safety. He designed a big tree decoration in the form of a star. It should be used on top of the Christmas tree and filled with water so that it can quickly douse any smouldering branches.
Patent number 2: Smoke detector festive decoration
Along the same lines, but with better technology, US patent 5396221 was filed in 1993 for a smoke detector Christmas tree ornament. This practical festive patent describes a smoke detector designed as a pretty star to hang on your tree, for extra safety.
Patent number 3: Christmas tree ornament designed to provide water
Not for fire prevention this time, patent US7757435 is Christmas tree watering ornament. Filed in 2008, the ornament would be perfect for people who like to buy real trees and keep them alive, before replanting in January. The bauble hides a water reservoir which would sink into the tree’s soil, keeping it healthy over the festive period.
Patent number 4: Detecting Santa Claus
All kids love Santa, but how do they know he’s really been? That’s the question inventor Thomas Cane wanted to answer in 1994 with US patent number 5523741. He designed a kid’s Christmas stocking that lights up when ‘Santa is arriving’. Two power sources are hidden in the stocking and it’s operated by the parent pulling a discreet string.
Patent number 5: Part artificial Christmas tree
In 1940, Paul Stojaneck was granted US patent 2186351A for a “semi-artificial Christmas tree”. He wanted to construct a tree that wouldn’t necessitate cutting a whole one down. The patent describes what is essentially a metal pole for the trunk, constructed from tapered tubular sections. There are sockets all the way down the trunk, in which you wedge live pine tree branches. We’re fairly sure it didn’t catch on.
Patent number 6: Edible gift-wrapping paper for pets
Our only question for this one is why it isn’t available for humans too. Patent number US20130149418A1 was filed 2013 for ‘an edible gift-wrap system for pets’. Dogs and cats who are in the mood can not eat the special gift box made from paper, and chew on various decorative embellishments, like bows and stickers. The idea is to stimulate your pet by having them solve puzzles to unwrap their treat, without them ingesting traditional dangerous elements, such as dye and glue.
Patent number 7: Kit for pretending Santa has been
Father Christmas seems to be big business for innovative thinkers, and US patent 20060116049A1 is designed to pretend he has really visited. Invented by Byron Reese in 2006, the kit has everything you need to simulate “a visit by Santa Claus, especially for the enjoyment of a child or children.” It comes complete with everything from a letter to your child from Santa to reindeer droppings and hoofprints. Instructions include: “Do not show this kit to your child! That would ruin the surprise. On Christmas morning before your child wakes up, follow the steps below…”
Patent number 8: The ‘naughty or nice’ device
US patent 200 80299533 was filed by Frank C Orsini in 2007. It’s a device that shows kids whether they’re getting any presents this year, although the patent says it can also be used for birthdays and other occasions. It includes twelve ‘behavioural questions’ that the children are graded on, with zero being the ‘naughty’ score, and five the ‘nice’. Packed with interactive phrases such as: “Is Santa going to give you coal?” and “You’ll find no presents for you this year, you have been naughty”, it sounds like it would be a hit with children everywhere.
Patent number 9: A special Christmas cracker
The UK’s only patent on this list, patent GB2465026 was granted in 2013 for a Christmas cracker that can be pulled by more than two people at the same time. Inventor Christopher Eves solves the problem of people having to wait their turn with a cracker boasting at least three arms.
Patent number 10: A decorative Christmas jumper kit
If you struggle to find the perfect Christmas jumper, then US patent 0298896A1 would be ideal for you. The ‘themed apparel decoration kit’ was designed by Michael Gerald Ltd, and offers a kit including the article of clothing and lots of decorative components for individual use.
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