Celebrity Invention: Lawrence Welk's Accordian-Shaped Ashtray

celebrityinvention.jpgSome celebrities aren't just pretty faces. A few of them are also touched with that Yankee prowess for tinkering and invention. In this weekly series, we introduce you to the Patents of the Rich and Famous. And maybe you learn a little bit about how patent literature works along the way.

Inventor: Lawrence Welk

Known For: Some of you might remember Lawrence Welk as the face of his variety show, The Lawrence Welk Show, which ran for almost 30 years. Having started his career as a musician, Welk often performed with the show's guests, and reserved one number for his own accordion solo.

Since his show went off-air almost thirty years ago, our younger readers likely recognize Welk (or the idea of Welk) from Fred Armisen's impersonation in this Saturday Night Live parody of his variety show.

Along with maintaining an old-school--but popular--variety show, Welk extended his brand, patenting various Welk-themed paraphernalia.

Invented Apparatus: "Ashtray"

ashtrayEDIT.jpgWelk patented the design for this kitschy accordion shaped ashtray.

Rationale Behind Invention: Like any good showman, Welk understood the necessity to monetize his brand. Along with his ashtray, Welk also holds design patents for an accordion-themed lunch box and a Welk-themed menu card with a rooster singing "authorized to serve the famous Lawrence Welk."

Off-Label Uses: Can you play the keys? If so, tiny-handed Eunice (Kristen Wiig) should play Welk's ashtray during her next SNL appearance.

Future Directions: If the ashtray does not yet have working keys, it should.

Peruse more Celebrity Inventions.

Presented by

Rebecca Greenfield is a former staff writer at The Wire.

Why Is Google Making Human Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors at a world-class life sciences lab are trying to change the way people think about their health.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Videos

Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Technology

Just In