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9 Gems From The U.S. Patent Office's Pizza Patent Collection

Some folks would have you believe that pizza is perfect and isn't in need of changing, but those are the same people who said, "The moon is for lookin' at, not walkin' on." Thankfully for humankind, there are intrepid inventors out there who keep pushing the envelope, looking for new ways to make pizza even better, and the U.S. Patent Office is full of their amazing ideas.

Here are nine examples of patent applications that were submitted, "not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

1. Musical Pizza Box

Patent Number: US8720690 B2 (Granted)

What Is It?: A pizza box that plays music when you open it.

Application Excerpt: "When the box material is folded to form the pizza box, the microchip is mounted to the microchip board, and the lid is moved from a closed state to an opened state, the activation mechanism is triggered to cause any recorded audio message stored on the microchip to be emitted by the speaker."

Effusive Praise For Pizza Within the Text of the Patent Application: "Carry-out or delivery pizza is a popular consumer food product and is often served at parties or small gatherings. Carry-out or delivery pizza is also especially popular in association with particular events, such as birthdays and sporting events, especially the Super Bowl® football game each year."

Pros: I get excited at just the thought of showing up to watch the Super Bowl® football game this year with a box of hot pizza, opening it up, and blasting "Hunger Strike" from the built-in sound system.

Cons: Seems like it'd be tough to recycle.

2. Pizza Slice Cutting Stamp

Application Number: US20120060373 A1

What Is It?: A device that turns one slice of pizza into many little slices of pizza.

Application Excerpt: "A user may utilize the cutting stamp frame by placing it on a slice of pizza and pressing on the handle cover to create a plurality of bite size portions from a single slice of pizza."

Pros: Those little pieces of pizza are pretty cute.

Cons: Can't reverse the process; once you cut your pizza into little smaller pizzas then there's no going back.

3. Pizza Scissors With Tray

Application Number: US20080134517 A1

What Is It?: Scissors that cut pizza into slices, lift, separate, then tote said slices onto your or your loved one's plate.

Application Excerpt: "Scissors cut the crust and toppings of the pizza and a spatula-like serving surface, projecting outward from the scissors, slides under and supports the cut slices."

Pros: Leaves one hand open for a variety of tasks (giving a thumbs up, ordering more pizza, fending off The Noid, etc...).

Cons: Can't bring it on a plane with you.

4. Pizza Hut's Mobile Pizza-Making Assault Vehicle

Patent Number: US4919477 A (Granted)

What Is It?: A kitchen-equipped truck that cruises around your neighborhood, lurks in the shadows, and constantly makes you pizzas.

Application Excerpt: "Consumers can obtain pizza in one of three ways: cooking their own, going to a pizza restaurant, or having a pizza cooked and then delivered. Naturally, having a pizza delivered is the most convenient of the three. However, certain drawbacks do exist with the typical delivered pizza."

Effusive Praise For Pizza Within the Text of the Patent Application: "Pizza is a food product having immense popularity among consumers."

Pros: 100 mph pizza.

Cons: Not designed for personal use and it only has a V6.

5. "Decorative" Pizza

Application Number: US20090238924 A1

What Is It?: It's a pizza that looks like a hyena.

Application Excerpt: "The cheese is disposed at the top surface such that the cheese substantially covers the top surface and appears to be the fur of the animal. The pepperoni is disposed at the top surface and at the head of the animal such that the pepperoni appears to be the animal's eye. The black olives are disposed at the top surface and at the head of the animal such that the black olives appear to be the animal's nose. The mushrooms are disposed at the top surface and at the back of the animal such that the mushrooms appear to be markings on the animal's fur. And the onions are disposed at the top surface and at the feet of the animal such that the onions appear to be the animal's hooves."

Effusive Praise For Pizza Within the Text of the Patent Application: "Pizza is a popular food among children and various casual social gatherings."

Pros: Fun.

Cons: Not quite photo-realistic.

6. "Improved Pizza"

Application Number: EP1820402 A1

What Is It?: It's a pizza whose crust spits in the face of societal norms and instead takes over the center of the pie in the form of a grid.

Application Excerpt: "The object of the present invention patent is to set forth a new improved pizza, the improvement of which consists of incorporating a dough grid over the components of the real pizza, thus preventing them from being spilled."

Pros: Every slice is surrounded by crust.

Cons: Hubris.

7. Pizza Cone

Patent Number: US4463021 A (Granted)

What Is It?: Ice cream and pizza had a baby and you should keep it away from your own children.

Application Excerpt: "As is well known, pie-shaped pieces of pizza are sold on an individual basis to customers at various types of food distributing establishments. However, due to the somewhat flexible and unstable nature of a piece of pizza, it has not been totally satisfactory as a handheld edible food product such as can be consumed while standing, walking and the like."

Pros: A cone is a tremendously strong shape—that's why they used it for the nose of the Concorde.

Cons: How can you put it down? Just lay it on its side? Now sauce is leaking out, aw man, you're getting pizza sauce on the upholstery.

8. Pizza Sandwich

Application Number: US20070082091 A1

What Is It?: It's a pizza sandwich.

Application Excerpt: "The present invention provides a method for assembling a food item, which comprises providing a first bread layer and second a second bread layer, wherein each of the first and second bread layers each comprise a first and second side. The invention further provides placing a pizza topping ingredient on at least one of the first side of the first bread layer."

Pros: Nice idea for a sandwich.

Cons: Do you really need to patent a sandwich? Just make it and enjoy it, no need to plant any flags here.

9. Dough-less Pizza Bowl

Application Number: US20060083843 A1

What Is It?: Not a pizza.

Application Excerpt: "Although bread and bread products have always been a staple food, many individuals believe that the consumption of carbohydrates, such as those found in bread and bread products, leads to weight gain. In order to lose weight and keep it off, many individuals have become 'carb-conscious' whereby he or she severely limits or even eliminates bread from his or her diet. Although the individual may lose and keep the weight off, he or she is not able to enjoy one of the most popular foods around the world: pizza."

Pros: Almost a pizza.

Cons: Not a pizza.

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The Secret to Costco's Delicious Pizza Is a Sauce-Dispensing Robot
Nixie Rhie, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Nixie Rhie, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Deliciousness often comes from unexpected sources. Take the food court at Costco, for example: No matter which location you're shopping in, you can always count on the pizza there to taste better than food served at a big box store has any right to be. Reader's Digest recently revealed the secret behind the chain's confounding culinary consistency: pizza-making robots.

Rather than relying solely on human employees to assemble the ingredients, Costco has perfected the art of pizza preparation with a machine that makes each pie identical to the one that came before it. Each Costco pizza starts with dough that's had sufficient time to rise and achieve chewy, pillowy goodness. From there, an automated nozzle dispenses an even layer of pizza sauce over a spinning, uncooked crust, and then the cheese and toppings are added with painstaking precision. "Every Costco pizza you get should have the same amount of sauce, cheese, and toppings,” Costco employee Kaiwen Zhao told Reader's Digest.

The final step takes place in the oven: The pie is blasted with heat from all angles and emerges from the oven exactly six minutes later. If the pizza isn't purchased within the hour, it gets tossed and replaced with a fresh one.

Surprisingly, Costco is one of the biggest pizza franchises in the country, with nearly 500 stores serving up the famous pies. But pizza isn't the only menu item that keeps customers coming back to the food court: Costco's rotisserie chicken is so popular that it has its own Facebook fan page.

[h/t Reader's Digest]

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A Pop-Up Pizza Museum Is Coming to New York City
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Though Chicagoans and Neopolitans might disagree, New York City prides considers itself the pizza capital of the world. This October, the city will welcome a whole museum dedicated to the cheesy, indulgent world of slices and pies, Eater New York reports.

The Museum of Pizza won't be a conventional museum tracing the history of the (sometimes foldable) foodstuff, but rather an “experiential pizza adventure" where every room doubles as an Instagram backdrop.

The pizza-inspired immersive zones will include a cheese cave, a pizza art gallery, and a pizza beach (what those rooms will look like in real life has yet to be revealed). The $35 ticket price gets visitors more than just an opportunity to boost their social media brand—it also includes one free slice of physical, edible pizza. The museum will also "do its best," according to the event listing, to make more pizza available to guests when the pop-up is open from October 13 to October 28, 2018.

The Museum of Pizza is the latest in a line of highly-Instagrammable food museums that have opened up in New York in recent years, the most famous of which was the Museum of Ice Cream, which featured a rainbow sprinkle pool and edible sugar balloons. There are also educational museum experiences, like Choco-Story, which focuses more on the history of the sweet stuff and less on its social media appeal.

[h/t Eater New York]

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