Summer’s almost officially here, which means all kinds of warm-weather fun: swimming, fishing, picnicking, lying on the beach. But to some of the world's’s tinkerers, those pastimes could be improved on with a dash of ingenuity. The results are sometimes useful, sometimes funny, sometimes quirky, and sometimes just plain ridiculous. See for yourself with this slideshow of the wildest summer fun patents.
The patent for the body sail, from 1973, says the average recreational mini boat is flimsy and too expensive. So why not strap sails and a mast to your torso and feet to turn your body into a sailboat? The inventor, Raymond C. Dansereau of St Petersburg, Florida, later made another human-sailboat hybrid, with a larger sail and greater stability. It looks like fun; we’re a little bummed we can’t find one on Amazon.
Body Surfing Armor
If body sailing isn’t your thing, perhaps a bit of body surfing sounds fun? This 1992 patent for a rigid, armor-like chest plate and “thigh skis,” promises to reduce drag and help you go faster in the water.
For those times when you catch a fish this big, a pole that brings your catch right to you. From 1972, the balloon on this buoyant float fishing apparatus will fill with gas when you feel a tug on the line, bringing the fish right to you.
Mobile Picnic Table
Because picnicking in just one place gets boring, am I right? This 2003 patent is for a picnic table mounted to a drive mechanism, with fenders to “to protect the feet and legs of picnickers using the table from the wheels when the table is in motion.” The inventors suggest the table would be useful for moving quickly out of the sun and into the shade, and would be a “fun way to increase socialization with other picnickers.” We can’t disagree.
Theft-Proof Picnic Basket
But who will watch your picnic basket while you’re riding your mobile picnic table into the sunset? This 1984 patent has your back. It’s a lockable picnic chest atop an anchoring device resembling a large screw that can be driven into the soil or sand, thus making it impossible for thieves to pick up and run away with.
Motorized Ice Cream Cone
For those times when licking your ice cream cone gets too tiring, this 1998 patent will come to your rescue. Insert a cup or cone into the device, and a motor will make it spin, thus “rotationally feeding its contents against a person’s outstretched tongue.”
If you’re looking for a more adult frozen treat, this 1982 patent for a “frozen beer or a frozen wine mounted upon a stick” might be just your speed.
Antique Diving Suit
If you plan to indulge in a little scuba diving this summer, be glad it’s 2017, not 1922, when this diving suit was patented. Developed by Danish inventor Einar Jensen Valeur, a resident of the Dominican Republic, the suit is intended for exploring rivers and lakes, and for underwater prospecting. A tall funnel poking above the surface allows the user to breathe, but is so heavy it must be suspended by a pulley system. It would be another twenty-plus years before Jacques Cousteau invented the modern scuba system.
Another entry in the annals of strange swimming devices, this 1956 patent will turn you into what looks like a tadpole, allowing you to glide through the water while keeping your face dry inside a clear, bullet-shaped helmet.
Tired of hauling all those bulky towels to the beach or pool? Enter this 2002 patent for a “body squeegee” glove. Made of synthetic microporous PVA material, it has a hole to drain the water as you run your hands over your body. No word on how you dry your back.
Another 1920s invention, this whirling sparkler is “a toy adapted to produce a shower of colored sparks” by rubbing metal against a “pyrophoric material.” While it sounds very festive for the 4th of July, we’re guessing current safety regulations frown upon toys that rain fire upon children.
Filed during the 1970s energy crisis that sent gas prices skyrocketing, this patent is for several interconnected barges that serve as a “floating campground” for RVs. The barges would “travel over inland waterways, while campers live in their vehicles and enjoy the facilities provided on board.” The facilities would include a swimming pool, restaurant and lounge area, allowing vacationers to enjoy a “unique flexible vacation environment” while saving on gas.
A way to dash through the airport on your way to your fabulous vacation without dragging your dawdling toddler by the arm? Yes, please. This 2008 patent application is for a suitcase that features a child seat on top, so you can strap the kiddo in and run for your gate.
Foul Weather Tube Suit
You’re enjoying a summer evening concert when all of a sudden, it starts to pour. Do you leave? No, just pop on this 1992 tube-shaped foul weather suit, and stay til the encore.