As a festive treat we have put together a list of exciting and interesting Christmas-related inventions from the last 100 years.
All but one of the inventions comes from the US where Christmas seems to inspire some intense innovation.
And Happy New Year!
From the London IP Team
10. US2522020 (1947) Automatic Christmas tree fire extinguisher
House fires caused by Christmas trees have been a problem ever since flammable trees were brought into houses. Why not crown the tree with a massive star full of water that breaks open in the event of a fire?
9. US5396221 (1993) Smoke detector disguised as a Christmas tree ornament
As the water-filled star didn’t catch on tree fires were will a problem in the 1990’s, so a more modern solution was to make a smoke detector in the shape of a star:
8. US7757435 (2008) Christmas tree watering ornament
Ornaments don’t just have to be used for fire control. Keep the Christmas tree alive for longer using ornaments with a water reservoir.
7. USD290242 (1984) Crayfish Christmas stocking
Not strictly an invention, but this fish-themed Christmas stocking would make a great present for any keen anglers. We particularly like the hat.
6. US5523741 (1994) Santa Claus Detector
This patent is worth a read in its entirety, but in short it discloses an ‘entity detector’ useful for visually signalling the arrival of Santa Claus by illuminating a stocking.
5. US2186351 (1940) Semi-artificial Christmas tree
We’d heard of artificial trees, but never semi-artificial Christmas trees. Perhaps that’s because they are metal poles with branches stuck in them.
4. US20130149418 (2013) Edible Gift-Wrap for Pets
As set out in the patent specification:
Pet owners will be able to mentally and physically stimulate their pet by providing an edible puzzle that the pet must chew through in order to reach the hidden gift surprise.
What we would like to know is why is this just for pets?
3. US20060116049 (2004) Kit for simulating a visit by Santa Claus
Another patent worth reading in full, this gem contains such ideas as leaving behind Santa’s sleigh license, which, if there are any children reading is identity theft. The instructions for using the kit read as follows:
1. Do not show this kit to your child! That would ruin the surprise. On Christmas morning (or Christmas eve) before your child wakes up, follow steps 2-6.
2. Place the “Thank You” card where Santa’s snacks were left (after disposing of the snacks, of course). Skip this step if you did not leave out snacks.
3. Scatter the corn outside on your lawn, porch, or doorstep to make it seem as if Santa’s reindeer had a little snack as well.
4. Use the enclosed hoof to make prints in the snow or soft ground in your yard. If no suitable ground is close by, fill a small pan with mud and dip the hoof in it. Use the muddy hoof to create prints on your porch, driveway, or other hard surface. Try to create the illusion that Santa’s reindeer were milling about.
5. Place the piece of torn fabric (“a piece of Santa’s jacket”) on or nearby something Santa might have “snagged it on”, like a loose nail, corner, fireplace grate, etc.
6. Place Santa’s license on the floor as if Santa dropped it in his haste. Assure your child that Santa can get a replacement; losing his license won’t keep anyone from getting gifts.
2. US20080299533 (2007) Naughty or nice meter
As best explained by the patent itself:
The “Naughty or Nice Meter” is a visual novelty toy designed to let Children know where they stand on a “Naughty or Nice Meter”
The “Naughty or Nice Meter” has a “list” of 12 questions and a space where a parent/guardian can write the persons name on top (water color writing surface); a space at the end of each question where the parent/guardian can grade the child; a calculator is used for adding/subtracting the total grade for all questions, along with a display of the total number accumulated. There is also a “meter” categorized in number percent range from “Naughty” at the bottom of the meter to “Nice” at the top.
1. GB2465026 (2010) A Christmas or party cracker
The only UK entry on the list this, but our favourite as London IP helped the applicant, who had filed a DIY patent application, to achieve grant of a patent with what is believed to be our record shortest patent claim ‘A cracker having at least three arms.’