Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In which our librarian considers an improvement to the simple umbrella

It is rainy today! Umbrellas are out in force, which got me thinking -- I wonder if anybody's patented an umbrella with a built in candy or gum dispenser?

Actually, to back up a bit, I began to think about umbrellas this morning on my walk in to work because I saw so many casualties to the wind that accompanied today's rain. We can put astronauts on the moon, but we can't come up with a wind-proof umbrella? (I guess there's no wind on the moon, but still...)

A Google search reassured me that there are plenty of innovative umbrellas on the market that at least claim to be wind proof, so ingneuity is not yet dead. Which got me thinking further -- what other innovations in the world of the umbrella have I missed? Could there be an umbrella Pez dispenser that I don't know about?

A quick search of the Index to Patent Classification shows that umbrella innovation is an active area of technology:

135 is a hot class! Check out all of the different subclasses for umbrellas:

And there are plenty of great patents. I just pulled a few from 135/16, Umbrellas Combined.

Here's an umbrella for a pooch:

This one has a pillow for when you're sleepy and it's raining:

No more watered down beverages when it's raining:

This umbrella's a good listener:

But really, I think many of us want nothing more than to curl up with a good book on a rainy day. Thanks to this final patent, that no longer precludes going outside:

Long live innovation!

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