JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post in the Questionable Quidity series
I came across these bits looking for spacecraft propulsion systems, and was surprised to find so many, well, "questionable" applications of brain power and time. Sushi boats for lazy eaters? Non-proto-Mayan naive electromagnetic spacecraft? Swinging (on a swing)?
I thought the swinging patent was a joke; it seems not to be. Isn't this like, say, patenting walking by using shoes?
The least and the most one might say for the sushi boat is that it is powered by water, though I'm not entirely sure what else there is to be said; seems a little close to being a trough for my taste, though I have to admit that I've never had an experience where I pluck my food froma moving object. Perhaps if the little boats were on fire it would be more attractive? Or if there were submarines?
An earlier version of this idea from 1887, showing the use of "midget electric trains" "at the kitchen and dinner-table of M. Gaston Menier"--somehow this is a little more appealing, though the prospect of eating on a miniature railway track is not all that appetizing:
This is an interesting variation of the two bits above, though (surprisingly!) there is no food involved:
Back to sushi: evidently a much bigger idea than I gave it credit for:
There were many other novel and noble efforts in the area of propulsion, particularly in the late 19th century, a few lovely examples of which can be seen here: