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Google Patents/Erin McCarthy

13 Patents Designed to Build a Better Mustache

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Google Patents/Erin McCarthy

You may have some buddies participating in Movember, an annual event that raises awareness of (and money for) men's health issues. Let's take a look at a few weird 'stache-themed patents.

1. Patent US435748, "Mustache Guard"

Patented in September 1890 by Ruben P. Hollinshead, this guard is an improvement upon other devices designed to "[suspend] a gentleman's mustache in order to keep the same up out of the way at the table, thus preventing the annoyance which so frequently is experienced in eating soups and other like foods, and drinking tea, coffee, or other liquids by gentlemen having heavy moustaches." It looks rather painful.

2. Patent USD381462, "Mustache Shield"

Inventor Dennis H. Bailey didn't do too much explaining in his application for this shield. Still, the patent was granted in 1997.

3. Patent US278999, "Mustache Holder"

This device, patented by J.A. Moore in 1883, was a comb that held a man's mustache back so it wouldn't come into contact with food.

4. Patent US213455, "Mustache Cup and Glass"

Unlike other mustache cups—which keep the mustache out of whatever a man is trying to drink—this one, patented by Albert Schenck in 1879, will make sure the guard that keeps a man's 'stache at bay won't also burn the lips, all thanks to the innovative spout.

5. Patent US398925, "Mustache Trainer"

The idea behind this interesting looking device, patented by Louis Auguste Allard in 1889, was that, by wearing it, a man could train his 'stache to grow in the desired form. Theoretically, he would have done this while in private. Other attempts at mustache trainers were not much better, either.

6. Patent US123839, "Mustache Holder"

This patent, filed by Eli J.F. Randolph in 1872, proves this whole mustache guard thing was more than just a passing fad.

7. Patent US135141, "Mustache Spoon"

If your moustache cup isn't working, why not try this spoon, patented by Ellen B.A. Mitchellson in 1873? It would allow you to bring soup to your mouth without "soiling or disfiguring" your moustache.

8. Patent US3858589, "Sideburn and Moustache Shaper"

In name alone, Sideburn and Moustache Shapers don't sound weird at all. But these devices, patented in the 1970s by Catherine E. Geiger, are pretty odd—more like things you'd trace than use to tweak your facial hair. Hold them up in front of your face, trim the errant hairs, and voila! Nicely shaped sideburns and 'stache!

9. Patent US 3944112, "Mustache Cup Adaptor"

Who needs a whole cup when you can just snap an adaptor on whatever thing you're drinking out of? That's the idea behind this device, patented by George W. Miller in 1976.

10. Patent US2262992, "Masquerade"

This patent, granted to Franklyn M. Dessart in 1939, was for a mask that could have different features—like a moustache!—applied to it. Looks like fun, eh?

11. Patent US4206913, "Trick Windmill Novelty"

Blow into one tube of this device, and the windmill turns. Blow into the other, and you get a graphite powder blown onto your face, "so as to produce the appearance of a moustache, to the amusement of all others observing the person trying to make the windmill work." Earl A. Howell, Jr., who was granted the patent in 1980, sure was a jokester!

12. Patent US4710145, "Therapeutic Doll Figure"

Get ready to have nightmares. This creepy looking doll, which was equipped with a tape recorder to play messages, was meant to be therapeutic. It could even be equipped with a velcro moustache to make it resemble someone. The patent was granted to Nancy Hall Vandis in 1987.

13. Patent USD269461, "Pacifier"

Every baby needs a mustache pacifier! Or at least Robert L. Qually, who was granted the patent for this device in 1983, thinks so. Timothy E. Brennan, who patented a similar pacifier, probably agrees.

This article originally appeared in November 2012.

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Space
Google Street View Now Lets You Explore the International Space Station

Google Street View covers some amazing locations (Antarctica, the Grand Canyon, and Stonehenge, to name a few), but it’s taken until now for the tool to venture into the final frontier. As TechCrunch reports, you can now use Street View to explore the inside of the International Space Station.

The scenes, photographed by astronauts living on the ISS, include all 15 modules of the massive satellite. Viewers will be treated to true 360-degree views of the rooms and equipment onboard. Through the windows, you can see Earth from an astronaut's perspective and a SpaceX Dragon craft delivering supplies to the crew.

Because the imagery was captured in zero gravity, it’s easy to lose sense of your bearings. Get a taste of what ISS residents experience on a daily basis here.

[h/t TechCrunch]

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Bite Helper
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technology
New Gadget Claims to De-Itch Your Mosquito Bites
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Bite Helper

Summer can be an itchy time for anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors. Mosquitos are everywhere, and some people are particularly susceptible to their bites and the itching that comes with them. A new product aims to stop the suffering. Bite Helper, reviewed by Mashable, is designed to stop your bites from itching.

Place the pen-like device over your swollen bite and it will begin to emit heat and vibrations designed to quell the itch. It’s meant to increase blood flow around the area to alleviate your pain, heating your skin up to 120°F for up to 45 seconds. It’s the size of a thin tube of sunscreen and is battery powered.

Most dermatologists advise applying cold to alleviate itching from insect bites, so the question is: Will heating up your skin really work? Bite Helper hasn’t been clinically tested, so it’s hard to say for certain how effective it would be. There has been some research to suggest that heat can help increase blood flow in general, but decrease histamine-induced blood flow in the skin (part of the body’s normal response to allergens) and reduce itching overall. In a German study of wasp, mosquito, and bee stings, concentrated heat led to a significant improvement in symptoms, though the researchers focused mostly on pain reduction rather than itching.

Bite Helper’s technique "seems like a legitimate claim" when it comes to localized itching, Tasuku Akiyama, who studies the mechanisms of itching at the University of Miami, tells Mental Floss. "The increase in the blood flow may increase the rate of elimination of itch mediator from the area." However, before that happens, the heat might also make the itch a little worse in the short-term, he cautions. This seems to be borne out by user experience: While Mashable's reviewer found that using the device didn’t hurt at all, his daughter found it too hot to bear for more than a few seconds.

If the device does in fact relieve itching, though, a few seconds of pain may be worth it.

Bite Helper is $25 on Amazon.

[h/t Mashable]

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