Patents Gone Wild: Little Bunny Fu-Fu
The origins of Easter come from so many places. From the pagan figure Eastre to the Christian faith of celebrating the resurrection of Christ-- the Easter holiday in the U.S. is almost as commercialized as Christmas! Many symbols of Easter can be found in stores as early as February. Baby carrots, marshmallow and chocolate bunnies, and plastic eggs all have links to the holiday.
Misshapen and Misunderstood
In our local grocery stores we usually only see “normal-shaped” carrots, because who wants to eat the ugly deformed ones? Before the mid-1980s, those broken and misshaped carrots were discarded and left some farmers with as little as 30 percent of their crop to take to stores. This led California carrot farmer, Mike Yurosek, to one of the best ideas in the agriculture world. He took the deformed carrots and reshaped them into small pieces using a potato peeler to, make them more suitable for quick munching. Yurosek eventually purchased an industrial green bean cutter to quickly whittle the carrots into the 2-inch portions we find in grocery stores today. While Yurosek never tried to patent or trademark the process, you can see the type of technology used in harvesting the carrots like in this invention, US5431231A Harvester for Root Vegetables.
Just a Nibble…
One of the most celebrated symbols of Easter has to be the candy! Marshmallow Peeps are synonymous with Easter, but the history of the “marshmallowly” goodness dates back to 1910 when Russian-born candy maker, Sam Born, emigrated to the U.S. and started the company, Just Born. Mr. Born was a candy-making genius that used innovative technology to produce chocolate sprinkles, hard chocolate coating for ice cream bars, and developed a machine that mechanically inserted sticks into lollipops. In 1946, his son, Bob Born, joined the company and helped mechanize the marshmallow forming process which gives us a variety of novelty marshmallow treats today. With over 100 different trademarks to their company’s name, Marshmallow Peeps was trademarked in 1980 (trademark #73276024) and the Easter chick was trademarked in 1997 (trademark #75276326).
Here are a few of my favorite Easter-themed patents to help celebrate the holiday:
US4124135A Hinged Plastic Easter Egg: This invention solves the problem of losing half of your plastic egg. Who knew that the little piece of plastic that holds the eggs together was a patent?!
US3660930A Egg Laying Toy Fowl: Ever wonder if the egg or the chicken came first? Apparently the eggs do on this toy...
US20070049162A1 Toy Easter Egg: I give you ROBO-EGG! Because playing with a normal egg is just boring.
US4573586A Easter Egg Dyeing and Drying Device: No, this is not a spaceship for eggs. The invention uses a “plurality” of holes to dye and dry eggs so that the process is less messy. I love when a patent uses the word “plurality”!