Game #4: What was the inventor thinking?

Image of a patent application drawing depicting what appears to be a half-oval or dome mesh object with a chain or link at its nadir attached to a muffin-shaped object.

Your challenge: identify the function of this object. An unshown accessory is used with this object.

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.

Patent image showing a cross section of a toilet bowl with a mesh bowl inserted into the toilet bowl. A plug extends from the mesh via a chain and is plugging the toilet bowl. Inside the mesh bowl can be seen rumpled cloths and a presumably metal poking stick with a handle on one end and a hot dog-shaped bent piece of metal on the other end.

Update: No one correctly guessed the purpose of this invention.

I’m going to weasel out any award glorious plaudits to all of the submissions for their humor or plausibility.

Answer: It’s a Receptacle for Baby Clothes. Or more accurately, this invention from 1909 allows you to wash cloth diapers in your toilet bowl.

Step 1. Store soiled cloths in the mesh bowl. Where you store the mesh bowl is not explained.

Step 2. When ready to wash, place the plug inside the toilet (maybe using that metal pokey stick-looking thing) and rest the mesh bowl over the toilet bowl.

Step 3. Flush the toilet to empty the toilet’s tank and fill the toilet bowl.

Step 4. Apply a cleansing compound to the water.

Step 5. "The cloths are manipulated by means of the manipulator (#9 in the image, the metal pokey thing) until sufficiently cleansed."

Step 6. Raise the mesh bowl by its handles and pull the plug out at the same time.

That’s all! Repeat as necessary.

The inventor explains, "It will be noticed that in this operation the hands of the operator have not become soiled or in any way brought in contact with either the dirty cloths or the water. [...] This operation can be repeated as many times as is desired until the cleansing is absolute."

Wow. I’m at a loss to explain why this invention didn’t sell like
hotcakes. I mean, everyone has a toilet in their home. It can’t lose!


9 Responses to “Game #4: What was the inventor thinking?”

  1. Christina says:

    Very clearly, this is a baby dunking system, designed for simplifying the daunting task of bathing wily young infants.

    To use: use plug at bottom of device to stop up your sink drain. Fill sink with (tear free) soapy water, and place baby gently in attached basket. Holding firmly to both handles (safety is a must!) dunk your baby gently up and down in the soapy water until clean. When finished, simply lift basket and child out of the water and place in sink drainer to dry. The attached plug will lift out of the sink as well, allowing the water to drain, and preventing you from having to reach down into the soapy mess to remove it.

    Suggested modifications: Later versions should consider replacing the uncomfortable wire mesh basket with a more baby-butt friendly cloth netting to prevent baby from getting those unsightly lines all over his or her tiny rear.

    September 2nd, 2008 at 5:03 am

  2. Kathleen says:

    Keep your baby from going down the drain with this oversized drain plug. No..that’s not a hair catcher on top….it’s the baby catcher :)

    September 2nd, 2008 at 5:39 am

  3. Jen L says:

    A basket for containing small objects (bottle nipples?) while washing them in a basin/sink. The plug at the bottom is for the sink drain, of course.

    September 2nd, 2008 at 6:12 am

  4. Jenni says:

    Christina had mine exactly. Guess I have to start getting up earlier for these!

    September 2nd, 2008 at 8:25 am

  5. Tenebrae says:

    Why, that’s a potty trainer strainer!

    You use the little “cork” at the bottom to plug the sink, hold tight to baby and place him (or her) above the contraption, tell him to let ‘em rip, and after he’s done his business, use the strainer to solid matter from the sink, and the chained little plug pops out so you don’t need to reach down thru the nasty water.

    Okay, actually, I think it’s probably not that bad,. Maybe used when bathing your kid so if they accidentally mess in the tub….

    September 2nd, 2008 at 4:11 pm

  6. tawni says:

    Is it used to sanitize nipples and such in a pot of hot water? Would make it easier to get them out, anyway..

    OHHH OR it’s a handy dandy way for kids to color easter eggs w/o breaking EVERY last one by THROWING them into the bowl of coloring!

    No? Well…WHAT IS IT?! This one is driving me crazy. Really. lol

    September 5th, 2008 at 9:12 am

  7. Kathleen says:

    Could it be a bag that holds bath toys and at the same time plugs the drain? Or it’s just a special bobbing-for-apples device that can prevent drowning. Just pull on the net and the tub will drain. {Halloween on the brain here…not much else}

    September 5th, 2008 at 5:32 pm

  8. CallMeKelly says:

    Eeeeeyouuuuuuwwwwwww! Some people are just nasty! No wonder no one guessed.

    September 6th, 2008 at 7:43 am

  9. anjii says:

    Before washing machines, I think that would have actually been the least gross method of washing dipes… but it makes me really glad I live in the day of being able to drop any solids in the toilet and chuck the diaper straight in the washing machine :D

    September 6th, 2008 at 9:14 pm

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