Archive for October 4th, 2006

Great Inventions

Last week I was asked by my neighbor Drew to contribute to his blog, Millions of Hundred-Dollar Ideas, while he was in NYC. I totally dropped the ball and didn’t post anything (sorry Drew!). You see, this is a blog about clever little inventions and I just couldn’t come up with anything worthy of his fine site. There was a time when ideas were flowing out of my head like water. This was especially true when I was in elementary school. Here are few examples:

The Remote Talker
This was a simple device created by Steve Vossler and myself. Tape a walkie-talkie to a remote control car and find the right moment to unleash. In our case, it was when Steve’s teenage sister Patty had brought a young suitor home to meet the family. We hid in the kitchen and drove the car into the living room and parked it under the coffee table. Steve then yelled into his walkie-talkie “Patty loves Randy, Patty loves Randy” and embarrassment ensued. Actually, I don’t remember what the guy’s name was, but Randy seems likely. I don’t think we got in trouble on this one – Al and Mary probably thought it was funny.

The War Wagon
During the summer months in the ’70s around our neighborhood, children were often left to run wild. Running street battles between kids with dirt clods, dirt bombs, water balloons, and fireworks were not uncommon. During a brief arms race one summer, Steve and I created a sort of tank like device to counter an increasingly violent insurgency. We had found an old appliance of some sort that had been gutted. We mounted it on a large wagon Al had constructed and created this turret featuring an elevating pipe. This pipe served as a cannon of sorts and we would load it with bottle rockets. The whole thing had one serious design flaw: someone had to pull it around, exposing themselves to enemy fire. And when the war wagon was stationary, it was often subjected to a barrage of hostile rocks, which made a deafening racket for the person inside to endure. After limited use, it was scrapped and we took up a cavary mode of battle using bikes.

The Apple Whipper
This was a simple invention consisting of a willow branch and a supply of semi-rotted apples. Cut the right length, a carefully chosen branch would display amazing whip-like properties. Just add a small apple to the end, and then whip toward target. A really nice branch could send an apple the distance of a city block (or more). Steve and I use to bombard kids one street over without them ever knowing how these apples were raining down.

Well, that’s all for now. There were tons of other crazy inventions, but I’m pressed for time, so I won’t be able to list more till later.

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