Home- three inventions we take for granted

Ideas worth spreading

Vault IP is proud to be sponsoring TEDx Leamington Spa this month. If you haven’t heard of TED, the general concept is based on events in which speakers and performers share ideas and stories, loosely based on Technology, Entertainment and Design. TEDx events are independently organised and themed.

TEDx Leamington Spa this year is based on the theme of “home”. With that in mind, in this month’s blog, we thought we would explore some inventions which have transformed the home!

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Microwave

There are few gadgets more convenient than the good old science oven. The invention of the microwave is a really interesting story as well. The first patent for something resembling today’s microwave was filed by military giant Raytheon after the inventor Percy Spencer stood a little too close to a microwave radar set and noticed that the chocolate bar in his pocket had melted.

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It took a long time for the microwave oven to catch on- partly due to public perception about “radiation” risks, but as anyone with small children will tell you they are often indispensable!

Read the patent here.

Sliced bread

Not so much a patent for sliced bread (taking a knife to a loaf is hardly inventive!) but to a machine for cutting your loaf into slices in one go. This 1932 patent is a kind of “bread bandsaw” and uses a pretty smart arm mechanism to vary the width of the slices.

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Read the patent here.

Toilet paper

The patent for toilet roll’s been in the news recently- mainly because it supposedly settles the “over” vs “under” argument for which way to correctly hang your loo roll. 

Toilet paper has been around since at least the 6th century, but the perforated and rolled variety we know and love came a lot later. This patent was granted in 1891:

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The patent itself is all about the way in which the individual sheets are joined. If ever you wanted an example of the floral language patent attorneys use- here's the claim:

“A roll of paper for wrapping or toilet use so constructed that the points of attachment and severance between the sheets will be alternately out of parallel lines running through the whole body of the sheets, so that a pull upon the free end of the web will not be transmitted in a direct line through a series of sheets, but will be diverted by spaces opposite the connected points of the sheets, thereby producing a transverse strain upon the connected points sufficient to break them, substantially as described.”

Read the patent here.