It was in 1882 that Samuel S. Applegate of Camden, New Jersey, patented equipment that would strike sleepers a slight blow in the face, hard enough to awaken them but not so violent as to cause pain. He proposed to suspend sixty blocks of cork on cords in a frame. The alarm clock would release them over the pillow so that some at least would fall on forehead, nose, mouth, or chin. Mr. Applegate said that connections could also be made with a burglar alarm or to ignite a gas heater in the bedroom at getting-up time.
Necklaces of bells to be clamped on rats and mice were invoked in 1908 as means to rid the house of them. Joseph Barad and Edward E. Markoff of providence, Rhode Island, said that the tinkling of a bell was as a rule very terrifying to rodents and that if pursued by such sounds they would immediately vacate their haunts and homes never to return. The inventors baited a trap in such a way that, when a rat poked in its head, a collar carrying bells contracted around its neck. The patent continues:
The bell-rat as it may be termed, then in seeking its burrow or colony announces his coming by the sounds emitted by the bells, thereby frightening the other rats and causing them to flee, thus practically exterminating them in a sure and economical manner. It may be added that the spring-band or collar is not liable to become accidentally lost or slip from the rat’s neck because the adjacent hairs soon become interwoven with the convolutions of the spring to more firmly hold it in place.
An eating implement –intended to settle the problem of how to handle spaghetti –is the revolving fork patented in 1952 by Philippe Piche of Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada. You plunge the fork into a plate of spaghetti and twirl the tines by rubbing your thumb over a wheel in the handle. “As the fork is lifted to the mouth, “says Mr. Piche, “the prongs may be rotated to keep the spaghetti properly wound round them.”