Game #5: What was the inventor thinking?

Image of a drawing from a patent application depicting an object roughly approximating a paint roller tray in appearance, except with two holes in its side at one end of the object and a rope or tether or chain-like item attached to two sides of the object at the opposing end. The two pieces of the rope or tether or chain-like item meet above the object and continue upward as a single rope or tether or chain-like item.

Your challenge: identify the function of this object.

The numbers refer to aspects of the device that its inventor described in his patent application. The object can be adjusted for two modes of use.

Two winners will be named, one for the correct guess and one for the
funniest guess. And yes, this invention pertains to young children
and/or parenting/raising young children.

Post your ideas via the comment form.

No links! If you discover a website describing this invention, keep
it to yourself. All will be revealed in time. You are competing for the glory.

Update: No one correctly guessed the purpose of this invention, but plaudits go to Kara for guessing the basic premise without knowing where it was to be used. "Co-sleeper" is an interesting and far more safer guess than the dark reality.

Plaudits also go to Kathleen for the funniest explanation… a balance for determining your baby’s weight in gold.

Patent drawing of a baby sitting upright in a long, oddly shaped compartment attached to a car dashboard and also suspended by a strap hanging from the ceiling. The baby's legs protrude out two holes in the side of the compartment.

Answer: It’s an Automobile Baby Crib!

This canvas crib patented in 1931 is suspended above the front passenger seat.

The first image above demonstrates the crib in sleep mode.

The second image shows how a baby sits upright in the crib. The unused
length of the crib gets separated by a swinging sidebar to create a
storage area for baby gear.

The inventor explains: "The principal object of the invention is to provide a bed which can be quickly and easily attached from the automobile and in which the baby can be safely carried in a sitting position without discomfort to the passengers…"

The crib is secured to your car by attaching two clamps (#18 in the images) "to the lower edge of the instrument board of the automobile" and the rope-like "suspension strap" (#23) "is connected in any desired manner with the automobile top [roof]." Yeah, attach that rope just any old way you please. It’s easy, right?

When the crib is not in use, it "can be collapsed and placed under the automobile seats where it will occupy but a minimum of space."

You can even remove a sleeping baby from the car, crib and all, "by simply loosening the hanger (#21) and the clamps (#18) and then lifting the entire device from the car."

So, you’re probably wondering why this ingenious invention isn’t still with us today. Simple. While babies hate rear-facing seats, they hate sideways facing seats even more. Imagine car sick upchuck flying at you from the far reaches of your peripheral vision.


10 Responses to “Game #5: What was the inventor thinking?”

  1. Kathleen says:

    This is a baby bathtub. Yes, the clamps (18) hold it onto the tub or sink while the string can be raised and lowered to get water into the small tray area. The holes on the side are for drainage.

    Dunk your baby…what fun :)

    September 2nd, 2008 at 5:43 am

  2. Jenni says:

    A baby hamock of sorts? Not sure what to clamp it to; but definatly hung from the ceiling. I’m thinking the holes are for the legs to stick out of, but I just don’t get it.

    That does it. It’s some baby torture device. Stick the legs in the holes, tickle the feet relentlesly until they promise to let you sleep through the night!

    September 2nd, 2008 at 7:00 pm

  3. Kara says:

    I’m thinking that the two different modes of use are laying down and sitting up, hence the two leg holes (#24). But what it attaches to is the question. Perhaps it can attach to the parent’s bed frame and be used as a co-sleeper and the cable support attaches to the ceiling?

    I’m affraid! Anything I can think of doesn’t seem all that safe!

    September 2nd, 2008 at 11:41 pm

  4. Bob says:

    changing station for camping?

    September 3rd, 2008 at 12:30 pm

  5. Ella says:

    It’s a baby slingshot.

    Or a virtual reality device. Parents want their children to get the full experience of the “rock-a-bye baby” song, so they hold the hanging part while their baby drifts off in the bassinet. Then when they get to the “down will come baby, cradle and all!” bit, they let go and baby drops to the floor. Hours of fun! The leg holes are to restrain the baby once he’s caught on to the game, but before you’ve gotten tired of it.

    September 3rd, 2008 at 10:30 pm

  6. Christy says:

    It’s a mesh baby hammock so if baby wants to sleep on his/her stomach you don’t have to worry about suffocation.

    September 4th, 2008 at 1:36 pm

  7. Charity says:

    A portable changing station? If you have a squirmy baby, just put his/her legs into the holes. Baby can’t squirm so easily.

    Actually, if I was right the leg holes would be on a shorter end…

    My real guess is that it’s an outdoor/indoor swing that can be used for newborns and toddlers (sitting or laying down).

    September 4th, 2008 at 9:35 pm

  8. Janelle says:

    Oh, most certainly a boob bath, an awful spa of sorts to help those sagging bags and the answer to erase the effects of gravity and countless children.

    September 4th, 2008 at 10:56 pm

  9. Kathleen says:

    I think it’s a device to measure your baby’s weight in gold. Place the baby on the side with the leg holes and the gold on the other until you have enough gold to balance the device.

    September 5th, 2008 at 5:34 pm

  10. twinsanity says:

    “So, you’re probably wondering why this ingenious invention isn’t still with us today. Simple. While babies hate rear-facing seats, they hate sideways facing seats even more. Imagine car sick upchuck flying at you from the far reaches of your peripheral vision.”

    Clearly, you’ve never had a preemie. Google preemie car bed and you’ll see the modern version of the this. A car bed, in which the child is lying sideways across the seat during travel. This is often a medically required device if you want to bring your preemie home from the NICU if they have trouble breathing in a regular car seat or weights less than 5 lbs upon release from the hospital. In general, most of these babies sleep peacefully during their trips home and to doctor visits with no apparent ill effects from their sideways position.

    September 7th, 2008 at 6:12 am

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