Inventions, like human beings, come in all shapes and sizes. Some inventions can be life changing, such as the wheel, or just to make life more enjoyable, like a bath spa. Having that 'light bulb' moment where you think you've invented the next big thing is rare, and it can be daunting to find a market for inventions. Funny and useless inventions are a novelty, and worthy of a little chuckle.
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In the 1980s, the Japanese created the term 'chindogu,' which means 'un-useless.' That translates to inventions that are useless, yet do serve a purpose--even if considered silly. Un-useless Japanese inventions range from a sleeping hat or a portable toilet paper--which is toilet paper strapped to the head--to a rainwater catcher, or upturned umbrella with a hose-and-bucket, water-collection system. The sleeping hat is a plastic hard hat, with a plunger attached horizontally on the back that sticks to a window. Hat-wearers are, thus, prevented from falling forward while sleeping.
The inventions are potentially considered impractical and useless, but amusing to look at. Other Japanese inventions that have been patented, include eye protectors for chickens, a fingertip toothbrush and a food cooler, which is a fan attached to a chopstick.
In 2008, The Times--a national British newspaper--announced its "Top 10 Useless Inventions." The Times listed the plough-and-gun device as its top useless invention. The design consisted of a plough with an attachment to hold a gun. Others mentioned included a glass encasement to preserve the dead, a glove designed to enable people to hold hands in the cold, and a fork with an alarm that times breaks between forkfuls of food. At the bottom of the list was a pair of trousers with a cushion attached to the bottom.
Inventions for Animals
In 1998, a U.S. patent was issued for a horse diaper. The inventor designed a device to attach to the body of a horse to support and secure a giant diaper. A year later, the "Gerbil Shirt" was invented. This is plastic tubing worn as a shirt/vest by the gerbil's owner, as a pathway for the animal to explore and even go outside in. Finally, the "Snake Walker" received a U.S. patent in 2002 for a leash that attaches to the neck of a snake, so the owner can take it for a walk without it slithering away.
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- Zimbio: Useless Inventions -- Funny Japanese Inventions
- DesignBoom: History of Useless Inventions
- Times Online: Top 10 Useless Inventions
- Totally Absurd: Totally Absurd Inventions -- America's Goofiest Patents: Horse Diaper
- Totally Absurd: Totally Absurd Inventions -- America's Goofiest Inventions: Gerbil Shirt
- Totally Absurd: Totally Absurd Inventions -- America's Goofiest Inventions: Snake Walker