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The Terrifying Men, Women, and Children of Water Slide Patent Illustrations

Google Patent Search
Google Patent Search

Even though water slides combine the essential and the unavoidable—water and gravity—our species' survival does not hinge on these fixtures of summertime amusement. This hasn't stopped humankind from exploring and perfecting the form, as a perusal through the U.S. patent office's extensive list of water slide patent applications will show.

Within these applications exists a surprising subset of American art: drawings of men, women, and children enjoying water slides. These haunting depictions are so evocative, they deserve to be isolated from the inventions they were created to accompany.

Here are thirteen terrifying examples.

1. The Ecstasy is Tattooed on His Face

Patent Number: US 5213547 A

What Exactly Is Going On Here?: The euphoric gentleman pictured above is enjoying the "Method and Apparatus for Improved Water Rides by Water Injection and Flume Design." This patent is for a nozzle (or series of nozzles) that shoots water in order to push water slide riders at a higher velocity. Clearly it's working: this man has achieved nirvana.

2. Gleefully Sacrificing Oneself To the Shark Gods

Patent Number: US 20100137068 A1

What Exactly Is Going On Here?: This is a diagram of a "Water slide With Three-Dimensional Visual Effects." The invention requires that the slider wear a pair of "three dimensional goggles" in order to fully achieve the desired effect of maritime catastrophe.

3. Flush The Featureless Creature. End Its Misery

Patent Number: US 6354955 B1

What Exactly Is Going On Here?: This is a "water slide bowl," and it's about to swallow that blank slate of a man whole. Who hasn't had this nightmare before?

4. No One Can Hear Your Screams—The Water Park Feeds On Fear

Patent Number: US 6375578 B1

What Exactly Is Going On Here?: The men in this illustration are dueling on the "Two-way Interactive Water Slide," which allows riders to trigger sensors that spray onlookers, who then return the favor with hoses from their adjacent stations. You see, water parks are twisted playpens of rage. The man on the left is clearly in pain, and his torturer's lack of mercy is frightening. This is a wet and wild version of the Milgram experiment.

5. This is What True Love Looks Like

Patent Number: US 4196900 A

What Exactly Is Going On Here?: This is a "simplified support construction" for water slides, sturdy enough to support Brad and his girlfriend Debbie. They've been dating for two years and still manage to keep things fresh thanks to their local water park.

6. No Matter How Many Times He Uses The Slide, He Can Never Get Clean

Patent Number: US 5839964 A

What Exactly Is Going On Here?: This "Water Toy Release Mechanism" works like the ol' bucket over the door trick, except it drenches you in perpetuity thanks to a garden hose attachment and self-righting trough. The child in the illustration cares not for historical droughts, and he wastes gallons of potable water for fun. He has never been happier.

7. "My God, It's Full of Stars"

Patent Number: US 20090111592 A1

What Exactly Is Going On Here?: This person is traveling through the "Amusement Slide with Lighting Effect," and he or she is so happy, he or she has reverted to his or her most elemental form. A return to the womb, if you will.

8. It Craves Velocity; It Can Sense You

Patent Number: US 20140135137 A1

What Exactly Is Going On Here?:The faceless creature is careening through a "Water Ride Attraction Incorporating Rider Skill." He can control his raft and maneuver around the slide to trigger sensors that transmit data to the handheld devices of nearby millennials:

The faceless man is like a king to them.

9. Those Brave Enough to Traverse the Lane May Claim the Bowling Pins

Patent Number: US 5101752 A

What Exactly Is Going On Here?: This illustration depicts a girl gracefully riding a body board. If she looks locked in deep concentration, it's because this isn't your average body board; it "conforms to the contours of a user's body having a generally frustoconical perimeter that circumscribes at least two chambers that are connected for pivoting movement with respect to one another."

10. Marxist Theory: Let the Machine Absorb You

Patent Number: US 1648196 A

What Exactly Is Going On Here?: The image above is from a very early water slide patent, filed in 1925. "While I am aware that slides are used by bathers and swimmers," inventor Gabriel E. Rohmer writes, "no apparatus has come to my attention which as a constant stream of water spraying the slide surface of the apparatus." We may have Mr. Rohmer to thank not only for water slides, but for water slide patent illustrations as well.

11. He Likes it Here. It Feels Safe

Patent Number: US 20060252563 A1

What Exactly Is Going On Here?: The "Water Slide Audio Visual Entertainment System," in which the above child is sitting, is a rather complicated invention. To confuse things even further, please look at this out-of-context image from the same patent application:

12. He's Been Doing This All Day. The Neighbors Are Concerned

Patent Number: US 6361445 B1

What Exactly Is Going On Here?: The design for this waterslide may be simple, but the man shown using it contains multitudes.

13. Walking is Hard, Sliding is Easy

Patent Number: US 3923301 A

What Exactly Is Going On Here?: A man with double-jointed ankles is taking a serene cruise down a waterslide built directly into a hill. The entire scene is rather beautiful—this should be hanging in a museum.

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King Features Syndicate
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Comics
10 Things You Might Not Know About Hägar the Horrible
King Features Syndicate
King Features Syndicate

For 45 years, the anachronistic adventures of a Scandinavian Viking named Hägar have populated the funny papers. Created by cartoonist Dik Browne, Hagar the Horrible is less about raiding and pillaging and more about Hägar’s domestic squabbles with wife Helga. If you’re a fan of this red-bearded savage with a surprisingly gentle demeanor, check out some facts about the strip’s history, Hägar’s status as a soda pitchman, and his stint as a college football mascot.

1. HÄGAR IS NAMED AFTER HIS CREATOR.

Richard Arthur “Dik” Browne got his start drawing courtroom sketches for New York newspapers; he debuted a military strip, Ginny Jeep, for servicemen after entering the Army in 1942. Following an advertising stint where he created the Chiquita Banana logo, he was asked to tackle art duties on the 1954 Beetle Bailey spinoff strip Hi and Lois. When he felt an urge to create his own strip in 1973, Browne thought back to how his children called him “Hägar the Horrible” when he would playfully chase them around the house. “Immediately, I thought Viking,” he told People in 1978. Hägar was soon the fastest-growing strip in history, appearing over 1000 papers.

2. HE COULD HAVE BEEN BULBAR THE BARBARIAN.

A Hägar the Horrible comic strip
King Features Syndicate

Working on Hi and Lois with cartoonist Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey) gave Browne an opportunity to solicit advice on Hägar from his more experienced colleague. As Walker recalled, he thought “Hägar” would be too hard for people to pronounce or spell and suggested Browne go with “Bulbar the Barbarian” instead. Browne brushed off the suggestion, preferring his own alliterative title.

3. A HEART ATTACK COULD HAVE CHANGED HÄGAR’S FATE.

When Browne came up with Hägar, he sent it along to a syndicate editor he knew from his work on Hi and Lois. According to Chris Browne, Dik’s son and the eventual artist for Hägar after his father passed away in 1989, the man originally promised to look at it after he got back from his vacation. He changed his mind at the last minute, reviewing and accepting the strip before leaving. Just days later, while on his ski vacation, the editor had a heart attack and died. If he hadn’t approved the strip prior to his passing, Browne said, Hägar may never have seen print.

4. THE STRIP HELPED BROWNE AVOID VANDALS.

A Hägar the Horrible comic strip
King Features Syndicate

Chris Browne recalled that Halloween in his Connecticut neighborhood was a time for kids to show their appreciation for his father’s work. While trick-or-treaters were busy covering nearby houses in toilet paper or spray paint, they spared the Browne residence. The only evidence of their vandalism was a spray-painted sign that read, “Mr. Browne, We Love Hägar.”

5. BROWNE’S DAUGHTER TALKED HIM OUT OF KIDNAPPING PLOTS.

Vikings were not known for being advocates for human rights. Hägar, despite his relatively genteel persona, still exhibited some barbaric traits, such as running off with “maidens” after a plundering session. Speaking with the Associated Press in 1983, Browne admitted he toned down the more lecherous side of Hägar after getting complaints from his daughter. “Running off with a maiden isn’t funny,” she told him. “It’s a crime.”

6. HÄGAR ENDORSED SODA.

A soda can featuring Hägar the Horrible
Amazon

Despite his preference for alcohol, Hägar apparently had a bit of a sweet tooth as well. In the 1970s, King Features licensed out a line of soda cans featuring some of their most popular comic strip characters, including Popeye, Blondie, and Hägar. The Viking also shilled for Mug Root Beer in the 1990s.

7. HE WAS A COLLEGE MASCOT.

In 1965, Cleveland State University students voted in the name “Vikings” for their collegiate basketball team. After using a mascot dubbed Viktorious Vike, the school adopted Hägar in the 1980s. Both Hägar and wife Helga appeared at several of the school’s sporting events before being replaced by an original character named Vike.

8. HE EVENTUALLY SOBERED UP.

A Hägar the Horrible comic strip
King Features Syndicate

When Dik Browne was working on Hägar, the Viking was prone to bouts of excessive drinking. When Chris Browne took over the strip, he made a deliberate decision to minimize Hägar’s imbibing. "When my father was doing the strip, he did an awful lot of gags about Hägar falling down drunk and coming home in a wheelbarrow, and as times go on that doesn't strike me as that funny anymore,” Brown told the Chicago Tribune in 1993. “Just about everybody I know has had somebody hurt by alcoholism or substance abuse.”

9. HE HAD HIS OWN HANNA-BARBERA CARTOON.

It took some time, but Hägar was finally honored with the animated special treatment in 1989. Cartoon powerhouse Hanna-Barbera created the 30-minute special, Hägar the Horrible: Hägar Knows Best, and cast the Viking as being out of his element after returning home for the first time in years. The voice of Optimus Prime, Peter Cullen, performed the title character. It was later released on DVD as part of a comic strip cartoon collection.

10. HE SAILED INTO THE WIZARD OF ID.

A Wizard of Id comic strip
King Features Syndicate

In 2014, Hägar made an appearance in the late Johnny Hart’s Wizard of Id comic strip, with the two characters looking confused at the idea they’ve run into one another at sea. Hägar also made a cameo in Blondie to celebrate that character’s 75th birthday in 2005.

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Pop Chart Lab
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infographics
Every Emoji Ever, Arranged by Color
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

What lies at the end of the emoji rainbow? It's not a pot of gold, but rather an exclamation point—a fitting way to round out the Every Emoji Ever print created by the design experts over at Pop Chart Lab.

As the name suggests, every emoji that's currently used in version 10.0.0 of Unicode is represented, which, if you're keeping track, is nearly 2400.

Each emoji was painstakingly hand-illustrated and arranged chromatically, starting with yellow and ending in white. Unicode was most recently updated last summer, with 56 emojis added to the family. Some of the newest members of the emoji clan include a mermaid, a couple of dinosaurs, a UFO, and a Chinese takeout box. However, the most popular emoji last year was the "despairing crying face." Make of that what you will.

Past posters from Pop Chart Lab have depicted the instruments played in every Beatles song, every bird species in North America, and magical objects of the wizarding world. The price of the Every Emoji Ever poster starts at $29, and if you're interested, the piece can be purchased here.

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