I was challenged last Monday to do an invention every day and to report today on my favorite one. It would have been easy to just say I didn’t have any new ideas. Instead, I read a list of the names of eight inventions worth mentioning and offered to let them choose which one I should describe in detail. There were some other things, but these were the ones that might have interested them.
Snowshoo – That was mentioned to this group last week and accidentally generated their challenge to me to come up with a new invention every day. Over the week there were several improvements on my original roof snow-removal device and it is now so simple to manufacture that it can be shipped for under twenty dollars, except for the handle extensions which are probably available at all hardware stores for eight dollars for twenty feet of extension. I am considering selling this Snowshoo so I won’t be more specific about the details at this time.
Toilet coil – This is a rethink of a device I invented during a drought back in California. It was a lead weight that would be placed above the toilet flapper ball, or vertical water closure ball, to shut off water to the toilet unless the user held the flush handle down. Water would only flow when the handle was depressed and it was designed to prevent more water than necessary for flushing being used. My device was carefully designed in such a way that it would lock onto the connecting rod and never fall off. I had given the working model to a lead device manufacturer, and the day he gave me his first sample a competing product was announced in a full-page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle. Millions were sold, but the design had a flaw, of which I was aware when designing my device, and many of them fell off and plugged the toilets. Plumbers made a fortune removing them from clogged toilets. It was easy to do if you had the right kind of plumbers snake. Today’s invention was much better. It consists of a coil of lead wire with enough curl to be rotated around the connecting rod and when settled to be pushed into a compact circle. It is easy to do and would never fall off.
Parkba – This is a Roomba designed to mow lawns and clean up city parks and golf courses. It would be about automobile size so that it could carry a lot of sweepings, but it would have a memory system so it could maneuver all over the park and also know where to dump the sweepings. Of course, it would need all of the safety devices now being built into unmanned cars and trucks.
Roadba – This is a similar concept to the Parkba but would be designed to go down paved roads and repair cracks and potholes.
Survival kite – This is a tiny kite that could be placed in one’s wallet with the paper money. It would be made of thin reflective material with a ribbon tail of thin reflective material. The kite string could be thin also and folded inside of the folded kite. It could be flown in moderate winds and be colored red to flash red as a signal for help.
Credit card with a mirrored surface – This could be used as a personal mirror. Some credit cards have blank backs and there would be no interference with their normal functions.
Credit card fresnel lens – This could be built into a normal credit card and used as a magnifying lens and other typical lens uses.
Transferable image tape – I’m thinking of making a kind of transfer of static information, like the ability to make a standard ruler with cellophane tape fixed right on to your desk, or wall, or the outside molding border of your computer, or on your kitchen countertop. This would be useful because sometimes you need a ruler and have trouble finding one.
That was an easy enough task, but I haven’t a clue for another invention.