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writing some wrongs
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My FIL says that he invented jumper cables.

Yeah, right, you say...me too...but he swears it. The story goes that he went out to a movie with some friends back yonder when he was young -- I suppose that was in the early 1950's -- and his car battery was dead. Being a young gearhead he happened to have wire and metal clips, rigged 'em up and jumped the battery. Says he thought for a little while that it might be a useful gadget, but never followed through....and he's been crabbing about it for the last 50 years. :D

Seems to me that's a pretty common story among men from that generation; they came up with something out of necessity, but either got too busy, figured it wouldn't be useful to anyone else, or thought that if they figured it out surely someone else did too.

Maybe it's a gadget, a machine, a system of improving a process....have you discovered your own innovation? Done anything about it? Used it to prosper, or shared it with others just out of kindness?

Got a story like my FIL's about one of your relatives or friends?

Me, I try to share my little discoveries, meager though they are...I always figure someone else, somewhere, has already figured it out anyway. But I guess you never know.
 

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Halfway, OR & Wagoner, OK
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I could kick myself on a couple of things.

When my daughter was a baby she kept dropping the baby rattles. So I tied some rattle toys onto a piece of elastic and hung them in her playpen where she could lay on her back and play with them. Then I did the same thing at her feet--so she could kick the rattles. It was awesome!

Now...fast forward 35 years...her baby received a play mat with guess what...rattle toys hung at hands and feet--plus some other neat things. Wish I would have pursued my "invention"!

Another good one--actually invented by my husband's friend:

He made a pole attached to a 12-in metal plate that he bolted to the floor beside my husband's recliner. It goes at an angle about waist height. My husband is disabled and uses the pole to stabilize himself when he gets out of the recliner. This is a great invention. Maybe I shouldn't have revealed it. It would be neat to market it for the elderly and disabled. It's so hard for them to get out of recliner.

My Dad invented a couple of things and had them patented. One was an electric fishing pole--for ice fishing. The thing flashed when you had a bite.

He also invented a tire tag--it had a little clear baggie that the serviceman could place the item removed from the tire. It was sticky-backed. I remember us six kids sitting at the kitchen table folding letters and including a sample of the tag--to send out to dealers. It never got off the ground, but it was fun helping my Dad and dreaming of fame and fortune.
 

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Keeping the Dream Alive
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Some years ago I approached the manufacturer of instananeous gas hot water systems, with an idea to combining one of their heaters with a solar hot water system.
The idea was that the solar would supply the bulk of hot water required, but the gas heater would come on when it sensed that the temperature of the water coming through was below a set point.
Told me that they would have to ask somebody at Head Office, and they would get back to me. After hearing nothing for a week, I called again and was told that the system wouldn't work because blah blah blah blah.
Two years later they had the system on the market.
Pure coincidence I suppose....
 

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My husband is a computer scientist. He has 3 patents in the United States and 2 patents in Europe for computer-related inventions during the course of his research in Computer Vision and Augmented Reality.

Sadly, I'm not creative enough to invent anything.
 

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DH is clever. Had an idea for liquid medicines I haven't made him pursue- good idea but not as safe as current systems (probably patentable but we're too lazy and expect it'd be outright stolen like Shinsan's idea if asked a drug company for help).

And I've been wanting to brag about this for a while: (unpatentable I'm certain) he rigged up a swim harness for our exercise which worked great for the one minute I tried it and he uses regularly: bungie cord on diving board hardware to strap out to second bungie cord to wide belt (he uses a British Army belt but US Army has similar ones) around hips. I swim along and feel like someone's tugging me backwards- actually asked if he had done so!
 

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I have had a few really good ideas. Sadly I don't have the money to make a proper prototype or go through the patent process. For now these ideas just take up room in my head.
 

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I used to do R&D stuff for an automation company. We'd "invent" things all of the time, but nothing that was really patented. It was mostly one of a kind stuff that wasn't worth the patenting process.

My great grandfather invented a few things at the turn of the century. Imporved cattle stantions, greenhouse equipment, a turn/slow/stop signal for cars (before they had break lights, you'd work this thing by hand with a lever) and one biggie that he lost to Henry Ford.

He had tinkered with a design in his off hours as a groundskeeper at the Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA. The invention was based on a Ford chassis and drivetrain. He replaced the front tires with skis, and the rear tires with tracks. It would go 60 mph on a frozen lake, and he made the mistake of approaching Henry Ford for financial help because he felt that he could make it go 100mph with a little more work, but needed the funding. In his letters to Ford, he described his situation, gave references, and desrcibed the project in detail. Of course, Ford came out with the conversion kit the next year!

It was after the Ford incident that he started patenting things.
 
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