9 Wild Inventions That Modernized Thanksgiving

These patents covered every step for a perfectly prepared holiday meal.

While you probably associate Thanksgiving with homecooked food made around the hearth, inventors have long been working on ways to modernize the family meal. Here, we present nine real patents—from an in-oven pie-filling machine to a drill used to speed the creaming of corn—that might help to make your holiday preparations go a little more smoothly. Most of these patents have been around for a while, but don't be alarmed if things don't work out exactly as advertised: It took more than 100 years of tinkering to get something as simple as gravy to the state it's in today.

This post is based on a version we originally published on November 24, 2010.