10 quirky inventions that came from the minds of classic TV actors

You can thank these actors for the artificial heart and an ashtray shaped like an accordion.

Television stars — they're more than just pretty faces. Some of them are regular Edisons. Well, one of them, at least, arguably. 

Still, several famous actors have submitted patents for unexpected inventions. Don't believe us? Take a look at some of the surprising creations from the minds of small-screen stars. Which one do you most desire?

1. John Ratzenberger


Method for attracting a user to a site on a computer network

On Cheers, he played the know-it-all mailman Cliff. Perhaps it's fitting then that Ratzenberger would submit a patent for what is, essentially, lure people to a website with celebrity. "The entity can use well-known or recognizable actors to attract users to the entertainment content and, in the process, to the entity's site on a regular basis, thereby making the site 'sticky,'" it claims. [link]

2. Kirstie Alley


Magnetized eyewear and matching picture frame

Cliff Clavin is not the only Cheers alum to file a patent. Kirstie Alley, who played Rebecca Howe, submitted a patent application in 2010 for magnetic reading glasses that affix to the back of a picture frame. [link]

3. Anson Williams


Ointment for topical treatment of hot flashes and method of use

In his years since playing Potsie on Happy Days, Williams has become a businessman. He launched a cosmetics company called Starmaker Products, spoke at the 2008 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's National Trademark Expo, and marketed Alert Drops to combat drowsy driving. No wonder he holds a patent for a hot flash treatment containing mint oils in a towelette. [link]

4. Paul Winchell


Artificial heart and others

The puppeteer just might be the brainiest man in television history. It's hard to top coming up with an artificial heart — yes, for the human body. That's a brilliant, life-saving invention. But voice of Tigger also dreamt up some wackier devices, such as his Hand pump for transferring liquids, Retractable fountain pen and the Inverted novelty mask, which turns your face into an upside-down egg man. [link]

5. Danny Kaye


Blowout toy or the like

The singing, dancing comedian, perhaps best known for White Christmas, was the brain behind this "blowout toy." It is, essentially, a New Year's Eve noisemaker, but with three unfurling tongues instead of a mere one. [link]

6. Lawrence Welk


Ash tray

It's an ashtray, only shaped like an accordion. Not exactly an artificial heart, but it's something. [link]

7. Steve McQueen


Bucket seat shell

The king of cool and cowboy bounty hunter of Wanted: Dead or Alive submitted a design patent for a buck seat used in Bullitt.

8. Gary Burghoff


Enhanced fish attractor device

Radar came up with a fishing tool. No, not sonar. The M*A*S*H actor developed something dubbed "Chum Magic," which helps anglers lure fish. [link]

9. Gary Burghoff


Toilet seat lifting handle

That's not all from the mind of Burghoff. We wanted to call special attention to his "ornamental design for a toilet seat lifting handle." Where can we buy one? link

10. Julie Newmar


Pantyhose with shaping band for cheeky derrier relief

Finally, we come to the original Catwoman, who submitted the most delightfully titled invention. The Batman beauty used both "cheeky" and "derrier" in her invention title. That's not the only undergarment from the mind of Newmar. She also patented a brassiere. [link]

SEE MORE: The hidden talents of 15 classic television stars


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idkwut2use 48 months ago
Well, I just used White-Out! ^^
SalIanni 63 months ago
Did you know that Bette Nesmith, the mother of Mike Nesmith of The Monkees, invented Liquid Paper, the little bottle that you used to erase typewritten mistakes before PCs made them obsolete? This made Mike and his family very rich so he didn't suffer too much after he left the band.
Dale 63 months ago
Very interesting, but ( not butt ) you spelled the French spelling for butt wrong. From the posted link to her invention..."Pantyhose with shaping band for cheeky DERRIERE relief."
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