Innovative Spirit

Patents (Only) a Mother Could Love

For Mother’s Day, we’ve pulled some of history’s wackiest patented ideas for mothers and children

Stop your baby from sucking his or her thumb with this, er, "clever" invention. (U.S. Pat. No. 2,276,612)
smithsonian.com

Visit any baby store, and you'll see plenty of strange-seeming baby items: booger extractor tool, anyone? (Although strange is in the eye of the beholder, as the product has nearly 400 5-star Amazon reviews.) But take a browse through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office archives, and you'll find that inventors throughout history have come up with a mind-boggling number of inventions for babies and kids. In honor of Mother's Day, we've pulled a few of the most interesting patents designed to help mother and child.

Retainer alarm

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(U.S. Pat. No. 4,764,111)

Tired of bugging your teenager to put his retainer back in? This 1988 patent, for a mouth-mounted alarm device that detects when the retainer has been away for too long, will do the nagging for you. 

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