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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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It's National Pizza Day! Here Are the Chains Offering the Best Deals
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Pizza comes about as close to perfection as food can get. Now, in honor of National Pizza Day—which is today, February 9—some fine purveyors of the cheesy delicacy have made it even more irresistible. If you’re looking for a place to celebrate this glorious holiday, these are the restaurants giving away their pizza at discounted costs or at no cost at all.

At Round Table Pizza, a pizza chain in the western U.S., getting a free cheese or pepperoni personal pizza all to yourself is easy. Just order a Pepsi beverage from one of their stores between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m on Friday. Pilot Flying J, a national truck stop chain that sells pizza, is giving away slices now through February 10 to any customer who downloads their myPilot app and redeems the digital coupon. Downloading the app from Blaze Fast Fire'd Pizza will get you a buy-one-get-one-free pizza deal all the way up until February 13 when you use their digital code. Chuck E. Cheese's is also going the buy-one-get-one route: Buy any large pizza there and get a free large thin-crust pepperoni pizza at no additional charge.

While nothing beats free pizza, discounted pizza is also abundant on National Pizza Day. Pizza Hut, the largest pizza chain in the U.S., is reducing all menu-priced pizzas by 30 percent for Hut Rewards members. Their biggest competitor, Domino’s, is offering a special that lets customers buy any two items from a list of goodies like wings, pizza, and cheesy bread for $5.99 total. At Papa John’s, they're celebrating Pizza Day for an entire month: Through March 5, you can order their Dual Layer Pepperoni Pizza for $12.

And if you’re a pizza lover who prefers your local by-the-slice joint to national chains, you still have options. Slice, a delivery app that connects customers to local pizzerias, will take $5 off orders of $10 or more when you enter the code “PIZZADAY.” If you can’t find your favorite spot that way, you can always give them a call and ask if they’re doing anything special to mark the big day.

[h/t Today]

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Watch Astronauts Assemble Pizza in Space
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Most everyone enjoys a good pizza party: Even astronauts living aboard the International Space Station.

As this video from NASA shows, assembling pizza in zero gravity is not only possible, it also has delicious results. The inspiration for the pizza feast came from Paolo Nespoli, an Italian astronaut who was craving one of his home country’s national dishes while working on the ISS. NASA’s program manager for the space station, Kirk Shireman, sympathized with his colleague and ordered pizzas to be delivered to the station.

NASA took a little longer responding to the request than your typical corner pizzeria might. The pizzas were delivered via the Orbital ATK capsule, and once they arrived, the ingredients had to be assembled by hand. The components didn’t differ too much from regular pizzas on Earth: Flatbread, tomato sauce, and cheese served as the base, and pepperoni, pesto, olives, and anchovy paste made up the toppings. Before heating them up, the astronauts had some fun with their creations, twirling them around like "flying saucers of the edible kind,” according to astronaut Randy Bresnik.

In case the pizza party wasn’t already a success, it also coincided with movie night on the International Space Station.

[h/t KHQ Q6]

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