Inflatable rug, anyone? Bird diaper? If they sound too weird to be true, then check the files of the United States Patent Office, where you can confirm that they are indeed real ideas for inventions. The number of offbeat inventions that have been suggested over the years are so numerous that you can even find quite a few web sites devoted to them, if you’re so inclined.

Teapot Tea Bag Caddy - a very sensible invention! (ETS Image)

Teapot Tea Bag Caddy – a very sensible invention! (ETS Image)

Of course, as I’ve noted in these very pages before, there are a number of these weirdo inventions that have to do with tea in some way. One of the weirdest ones I’ve run across thus far goes by the rather dubious name, Agent to Suppress Old Person Smell, Containing Oolong Tea Extract and/or Chinese Blackberry Tea Extract.

This miracle potion was devised rather recently by Japanese scientists in the employ of Suntory Holdings Limited. As they note, “The problem addressed by the present invention is the provision of a deodorant for the suppression of body odor, particularly the ‘old person smell’ which is inherent to people of middle- and old-age, the deodorant being safe to use and having a strong deodorizing effect.” Make what you will of that.

For most people who drink their tea from tea bags the mess and fuss is likely to be an ongoing issue. While there may be some disagreement over whether squeezing your tea bag before removing it from the tea will negatively affect the taste it does make for less mess and most tea drinkers probably do it. While there are any number of ways to do so and gadgets to help things along, this design for a tea bag with a built-in squeezer is certainly one of the more unusual. Here’s a gizmo from a German inventor that appears to also be trying to solve the problem of how best to manipulate the tea bag. This rather elaborate gadget was devised about two decades ago and is described as a Tea Bag Holding Device With an Elastical Support Ring.

The temperature at which you steep your tea is one of the most important parts of the entire tea equation, and at least one inventor has come up with a gadget to help control this aspect of the process. The Electronic Tea Thermometer and Timer Device seems to be a fairly elaborate device that takes into consideration the need to steep different teas at different temps. But to be quite honest, as with so many patent documents, the language is so convoluted that I can’t be sure exactly how it works. Take a crack at trying to decipher it here.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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