Thursday, March 4, 2004

Patent Leather Shoes

What is the one patent number that you have probably encountered — or at least read — the most?

It’s something that is in front of you almost every time you use the product.  And it’s something you probably read every time you see it, because you have nothing better to do at the time.

It usually involves text like “Reduces the risk of disease transmission through paper towel waste”.  And “120 V 60 Hz”.

That’s right.  Hot air hand dryers, found in every public restroom in the country.  You’re standing there, facing the wall, knowing that the thing will shut off when your hands are only about 85% dry (which leaves you wondering whether running it another 10 seconds wouldn’t be cheaper than making you press the button again and running it for another full 60 seconds every single time).  With nothing else to do, you read the metal plate on the dryer, which has the exact same text you’ve read on a hundred other dryers a hundred other times.  Including the patent number.

Eventually, you start to memorize that shit.

Patent no. 2553846.  Other patents pending.  (Haven’t the other ones been processed by now?  It’s been years!)

Shoot me now.

(There’s an additional patent number listed on about 1/8 of the dryers.  That one, I’m happy to say, I don’t have memorized.  And maybe 1/4 of the dryers — all from one manufacturer — don’t list the numbers at all.)

Updated on March 9, 2004

Updated on December 23, 2010

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