Each year on the fourth Thursday in November, families gather round the dinner table to celebrate Thanksgiving. Declared a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, Thanksgiving is uniquely American, as are most of the foods associated with it, including the star of the show, turkey. According to the National Turkey Federation, 88 percent of Americans eat the beloved bird every Thanksgiving. With that in mind, we've taken this opportunity to honor some of the wackiest and wisest patents and inventions associated with the Thanksgiving feast.
Squash, Pumpkin, and Gourd Mold
One of the strangest patents among the bunch is US Patent 482766, "Method and apparatus for molding fruits." While the concept itself is not so strange in that the mold allows you to grow your squash, pumpkins, and other fruits in desired shapes, the illustrations that accompany the patent definitely are, in that the mold is a human face. So if you already know that Grandma Bessie won't be attending the Thanksgiving feast next year, you can still have her join you-in likeness anyway.
Animated Turkey Decoy
For the vegetarians among us who won't be eating turkey at Thanksgiving, but still want to include a turkey in their Thanksgiving celebration, there's the Animated Wildfowl Decoy, US Patent 5289654 that simulates the external appearance and certain head and neck movements of a wild turkey.
Mississippi Turkey Caller
If you need a few sound effects to go with your animated turkey decoy centerpiece, check out the Mississippi Turkey Caller, US Patent 4904221, which according to the patent description is … "a device for calling wild turkeys that is equally effective wet or dry, is durable, is easily carried, and is simple to use." Gobble, gobble!
The cooking jacket, US Patent 4942809, is designed for cooking large pieces of meat including turkeys. The mesh jacket, which encloses the turkey, much like a jacket or coat, has two loop handles on either side and makes it easy to lift the turkey out of the cooking pan.
Turkey Bar Carving Station
According to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), US Patent D360785, an ornamental design for a Turkey Bar Carving Station, is for "really large gatherings!" Unfortunately, however, if you were planning on using the Turkey Bar Carving Station at your next Thanksgiving extravaganza, the patent for this ornamental design has already been assigned to Los Angeles, California based restaurant company Koo Koo Roo, Inc., who now owns the patent and has the same rights as that of the original patentee.
This particular turkey baster, US Patent D390070, is no ordinary looking turkey baster. Yes, it performs the same job, basting the turkey as it cooks in the oven, but there's something more to it. The baster bulb is actually designed as a turkey in keeping with the spirit of Thanksgiving. So not only is it functional, it's decorative too.
Native to North America, cranberries are present at nearly every Thanksgiving feast across America. Over the years several cranberry harvesting machines have been patented, revolutionizing the cranberry industry, including the Cranberry harvesting method and apparatus (US Patent 5375402) patented by Lester Gidge, who assigned the patent to the company he founded, Nashua Industrial Machine Co.
If you're an inventor with a great idea or two, no matter how off the beaten path you think it might be, consider obtaining a patent for it. After all, you never know when someone else might find it useful.
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