Proof that creative genius can come from just about anywhere!
In 2018, the U.S. issued its ten millionth patent, which marked a major milestone in the 228-year history of the American intellectual property system. Some of these patents have been given to world-class inventors like Thomas Edison, who was granted more than 1,000 patents in his lifetime. Others have been issued to ordinary people who simply thought of a new and improved way of doing things. Then there is the group that falls somewhere in the middle because while celebrities may not be renowned inventors… they can certainly be far from ordinary.
You may not agree with the practicality behind every invention on this list, but I personally found this one to be quite a great ideal! Believe it or not, Two And A Half Men’s Charlie Sheen owns the patent for an invention that aims to make it easier to use lip balm. The applicator dispenser would have a retractable cap, as opposed to the more common removable one. Sheen revealed that the idea came to him while driving and trying to apply Chapstick. The frustration at not being able to do so with one-hand inspired the patent which he then pitched to Chapstick. Unfortunately for Sheen, Chapstick ultimately passed on implementing his invention.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis has been a mother both on the big screen and in real life so she is well familiar with the struggles of motherhood. While changing her daughter’s diaper one day, Curtis realized that she didn’t have any wipes nearby which sparked a thought that led to an incredibly handy invention for fellow parents. In 1987, Curtis designed and patented a disposable diaper with a waterproof pocket that holds a couple baby wipes for easy cleanup. However, don’t run off to the store just yet! Ever the environmentalist, Curtis has vowed not to manufacture her invention until diapers become biodegradable.
The King of Pop is known for many things, one of which includes his ground-breaking dance moves. Though the moonwalk remains most memorable, who could possibly forget the gravity defying lean he pulled off in the Smooth Criminal music video? Jackson pulled off the move with hidden cables and a harness, but this only worked with the assistance of movie magic. To perform the maneuver live on stage, Jackson co-invented a shoe with a heel that could attach to a hook on the floor. The hook anchored his feet in place while he leaned forward 45 degrees to complete the signature move. The patent for this “method and means for creating anti-gravity illusion” was given in 1993 and nearly thirty years later, the dance move remains just as iconic!
With worldwide acclaimed movies like Titanic, Avatar, and The Terminator under his belt, it’s probably not surprising to hear that James Cameron is willing to do—or invent—whatever it takes to maintain his high standards of film production. The famed director holds a number of patents and will often invent new technology to assist in the completion of his films if the technology he desires does not already exist. One of these inventions includes an underwater dolly device that helps to propel a person underwater while maintaining buoyancy. The apparatus makes it easier for a camera operator to film scenes underwater and allowed Cameron to capture various shots needed for the 1989 film, The Abyss.
Yet another director who joined the world of inventions and patents is the one and only Steven Spielberg. While Cameron’s invention sought to help his camera operators, Spielbieg’s patent was made to help out his fellow directors. The device would allow users to edit a document while on-the-go or even add verbal annotations, similar to Google Documents today. Spielberg intended for the device to be used with scripts and although we now have similar technology on our smartphones, in 2011 the invention was groundbreaking.
Former American Idol judge Paula Abdul is known for her energetic performances and concerts. In addition to singing her heart out, Abdul is often seen dancing and moving around the stage throughout the duration of her shows. This resulted in a unique need for a microphone that could keep up with her moves. In 2008, Abdul invented a microphone stand with a weighted, concave-shaped bottom that allowed the microphone to move around with her while always returning to an upright position similar to a free standing punching bag.
Classic writer Samuel Langhorne Clemens was not just passionate about storytelling, he was also into hobby scrapbooking! Better known by his pen name Mark Twain, the scrapbook lover was frequently bothered by the standard scrapbooking process of hand-gluing all of his memories into the pages of his scrapbooks. This led Twain to invent a self-adhesive alternative in 1872 that worked much like an envelope. A scrapbooker only needed to wet a portion of the page to make the adhesive come to life. Bonus fun fact: In 1871, Twain patented an “improvement in adjustable and detachable straps for garments” which we still use today in the modern day bra strap clasp.