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.