Celebrities! They sing, they dance, they act, they write – but did you know that some of them have filed patents for some pretty nifty inventions? Let’s take a look at 10 well-known celebrities that thought outside of the box and a few of their not-so-well known creations.
1. Harry Houdini
Who else but the world’s most famous escape artist would invent a new and improved easy-to-remove diving suit? The suit not only allowed an underwater diver to escape dire circumstances, but was crafted so that the diver could also suit up without assistance.
2. Mark Twain
America’s most beloved writer and smartass Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) gave us more than just good books – he also filed several patents in his lifetime, such as a method for self-adhesive scrapbooking. Another of his patents was for an “Improvement in adjustable and detachable straps for garments”, such as the ones we use for bra straps today. He imagined these straps to be interchangeable for various clothing items in order to adjust ill-fitting pieces.
3. Julie Newmar
If anyone knows a thing or two about tight clothing, it’s Catwoman. So it makes perfect sense that TV’s Julie Newmar once filed a patent for shapewear: “pantyhose of a semielastic fabric which enhance natural shape of a wearers derriere giving it cheeky relief, rather than board like flatness.” Or, as Julie succinctly put it in a 1977 People interview, “They make your derriere look like an apple instead of a ham sandwich.”
4. Hedy Lamarr
Perhaps best known as a top actress of the 30s and 40s, Hedy Lamarr co-invented a frequency-hopping spread-spectrum technique that eventually paved the way for modern communication. Although the secret communication system wasn’t used until 20 years after the patent was filed and had already expired, Hedy was inducted into the Inventor’s Hall of Fame in 2014.
5. Charlie Sheen
Actor Charlie Sheen must have dropped a lot of tiny and easily lost Chapstick caps in his lifetime, because he filed a patent in 2001 for a Chapstick Dispensing Apparatus that has a slidable, non-detachable cap. Winning!
6. Marlon Brando
Did you know that one of Hollywood’s most iconic leading men was also an inventor? Marlon filed several patents in the early 2000s for a Drumhead tensioning device and method that would make tuning a drum not only quicker and easier, but reliable and inexpensive as well.
7. Christie Brinkley
Model Christie Brinkley filed a patent for an educational toy for children for “teaching letter construction and recognition.” The toy consisted of 14 magnetic parts that could be used in various combinations to form all 26 letters of the alphabet. Sounds pretty cool to us!
8. Neil Young
Musician Neil Young can lay claim to many innovations within the music world, and out of it also – particularly in the world of model trains, which is a life-long passion of his. Neil, along with others, is listed as co-inventor on 7 patents related to model trains. One such is the Controller for a model toy train set.
9. Michael Jackson
The King of Pop might have been a master dancer, but of course he couldn’t perform that seemingly anti-gravity lean trick in “Smooth Criminal” without a little tech help. A pair of shoes that he co-invented worked by attaching to the floor, allowing him to perform the awesome illusion. Even knowing this, it’s still an impressive feat!
10. Abraham Lincoln
Sure, most people consider Lincoln to be way more than a mere celebrity, but his invention for lifting boats over shoals and obstructions in a river was so cool that we simply had to include it. The idea for this patent came from his experiences working on boats before his political career, and he’s the only US Pres (so far) to register a patent!
Are you as impressed as we are? Let us know in the comments which of these inventions you think is the absolute coolest.