Some 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.
Inventor: Kurt Vonnegut, Sr.
Known For: Most notably: He's Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s dad. But besides fathering one of the most influential science fiction authors of the 20th century, Kurt Sr. had quite the little business of his own. In the early 20th century Vonnegut inherited his father's successful architecture firm, and became a big-deal architecture dude of his day in Indiana. He even built some famous buildings, including Indianapolis's Das Deutsche Haus, which stands today as the symbol of the region's German American heritage. Unfortunately, once the depression came, commissions stopped, leaving Vonnegut broke and bored. As he encouraged Kurt Jr. to pursue a more lucrative and practical career -- sending his son to Cornell to study chemistry -- he smoked his tobacco pipe and twiddled his sooty thumbs.
Then, it hit him. He had really dirty digits.
So while his son was off learning science, fighting in WWII, and writing ad copy for General Electric, Vonnegut got back into designing.
Invented Apparatus: "Tobacco Pipe"
While the patent title may lead you to believe that Kurt Vonnegut invented the tobacco pipe, he didn't. He just made it more awesome by adding a nifty little "tubular member", which allowed a pipe cleaner to move through the pipe, making cleaning one's tobacco pipe easier and neater.
To this end the invention provides a bowl and stem unit preferably integrally formed and having a tubular member slidably mounted therein and carrying a bit at one end.
Rationale Behind Invention: