Society - People
By: - at March 31, 2014

20 Celebrities Who Invented Amazing Things

20 Celebrities Who Invented Amazing Things

No matter how creative they may be in their respective fields, when you think of celebrities you usually don’t imagine they would make great inventors. While most public figures would make terrible inventors, a surprisingly large number of them have made a variety of creations. In some cases it came out of necessity in relations to their work, while other times it was the result of a hobby.


20)  Fabio – Slim-Fit Fat Burning Water
The well known model, Fabio, launched his unique brand of water called “Slim-Fit Fat Burning Water" that claimed to slim down consumers by burning fat. Fabio claimed that the water possessed both fatburning and energy producing properties. It was made up primarily of spring water but also featured vitamins such as B-12 and B-6. Fabio insisted that the fat burning properties were due to the water’s key ingredient, L-carnitine, which had supposedly been demonstrated to speed up the rate at which cells burn fat.

Fabio
The well known model, Fabio, launched his unique brand of water called “Slim-Fit Fat Burning Water" that claimed to slim down consumers by burning fat
original image source


19)  Julie Newmar – Body Shaping Pantyhose
Actress Julie Newmar is best known for her role as Catwoman in the ‘Batman’ television series (1966 – 1968). At some point in her career, she was inspired to create a piece of clothing, a special pair of pantyhose that adjusted and enhanced the appearance of woman's backside.  Newmar patented the pantyhose In 1974, which were made of a combination of nylon and spandex that pre-dated any other such line of clothing.

Julie Newmar
Actress Julie Newmar is best known for her role as Catwoman in the ‘Batman’ television series (1966 – 1968). At some point in her career, she was inspired to create a piece of clothing, a special pair of pantyhose that adjusted and enhanced the appearance of woman's backside.

Julie Newmar's Body Shaping Pantyhose Patient
Julie Newmar's Body Shaping Pantyhose Patient
 


18)  Christie Brinkley – Children’s Alphabet Toy
In 1991, supermodel Christie Brinkley took out a patent on an educational toy that she developed in order to assist children in learning the alphabet. She'd always had a passion for solving puzzles and she wanted to share that love by helping educate kids all over the world. Although the design of the toy was sound in regards to its objective of teaching kids about the alphabet, it wasn’t embraced by the marketplace due to its emphasis on education over entertainment value.

Christie Brinkley
In 1991, supermodel Christie Brinkley took out a patent on an educational toy that she developed in order to assist children in learning the alphabet.
By David Shankbone, via Wikimedia Commons


17)  Bing Crosby (1903-1977) – Window Sash Holder
Screen Actor, Bing Crosby, was an icon in American cinema due to his distinct voice and screen presence. While all celebrities encounter a variety of ups and downs on account of being in the public eye, one issue that really bothered Crosby was his window blinds as well as the difficulty he had adjusting them. Apparently, he had such a problem with his blinds that he developed a device called “The Window Sash Holder”, which was used to secure the strings that open and close the blinds covering windows. In 1976, Crosby patented the product.

Bing Crosby
Apparently, he had such a problem with his blinds that he developed a device called “The Window Sash Holder”, which was used to secure the strings that open and close the blinds covering windows. In 1976, Bing Crosby patented the product.

Bing Crosby's Window Sash Holder Patient
Bing Crosby's Window Sash Holder Patient


16)  Harry Houdini (1874-1926) – Diving Suit
There’s no doubt that Harry Houdini was the greatest magician ever. His inventiveness was always obvious in regards to the elaborate and remarkable stunts that he performed over his lifetime. His creativity was also evident when it came to designing pieces used in his acts. For the sake of a number of his performances, Houdini designed a special type of diving suit that enabled him to put on and remove the suit easier. Also, it handled water pressure better than the average diving suit.

Harry Houdini
Houdini designed a special type of diving suit that enabled him to put on and remove the suit easier.

Harry Houdini's Diving Suit Patient
Harry Houdini's Diving Suit Patient


15)  Uri Geller – Cell Phone Radiation Shield
Illusionist, Uri Geller, is best known for his spoon bending trick. While he claims that he is able to bend the utensil using just his mind, critics argue that it is just a trick. Whatever the case may be one thing is clear, that Geller is inventive. This is perhaps most evident in the fact that Geller helped co-develop a cell phone radiation shield. Like with his performances, there are some critics who regard the invention as nothing more than a fancy cell phone case since there has been no real test performed to prove whether it really does anything at all.

Uri Geller
Uri Geller helped co-develop a cell phone radiation shiel
By Dmitry Rozhkov, via Wikimedia Commons


14)  Prince – Portable Keyboard
There’s little doubt that Prince is a musical genius and his creativity doesn’t just lie in the writing as well as performing of his music. In 1992, Prince developed an instrument that was basically a portable keyboard or keytar.

Prince
There’s little doubt that Prince is a musical genius and his creativity doesn’t just lie in the writing as well as performing of his music. In 1992, Prince developed an instrument that was basically a portable keyboard or keytar.

Prince's Keytar Patient
Prince's Keytar Patient
Courtesy of www.google.com


13)  Steve McQueen (1930-1980) – Automobile Bucket Seat
The movie legend, Steve McQueen, was a talented driver both on and off the screen. He was a serious motor enthusiast, he even considered pursuing a career as a professional race car and motorcycle driver. He had successfully competed in a number of prestigious races throughout his life, most notably the 12 Hours of Sebring. Given his love of cars and motors, McQueen often played around with a variety of automobile elements. He developed a new design for bucket seats in 1969 and patented the product, the invention was called the "Bucket Seat Shell". The design was a futuristic looking, curvy seat for automobiles. Although they were never mass produced, they can still be seen in the Ford Mustang McQueen drives in ‘Bullitt’ (1968). He also designed a transbrake for race cars.

Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen developed a new design for bucket seats in 1969 and patented the product, the invention was called the "Bucket Seat Shell".

Steve McQueen's Bucket Seat Shell patent
Bucket Seat Shell patent designed by Steve McQueen.
Courtesy of www.google.com


12)  Jamie Lee Curtis – Disposable Diapers
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis gained tremendous fame in the 1980s and not just for being Hollywood royalty, daughter of legends Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, but for her numerous appearances in cult-classic films from the era. Her fame dubbed her as the “Queen of Scream” because she was always running and screaming from one psychotic killer to another in horror films. There is more to Curtis than just her acting and screaming. In 1987, Curtis developed a unique and helpful disposable baby diaper. The design featured a waterproof clip that could hold baby wipes, thus making changing the baby easier. Despite the high marketability potential and gold-winning idea, Curtis is yet to license the patent to interested companies. She refuses to let anyone use the design until the manufacture agrees to use completely biodegradable products.

Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis created disposible diapers.
By Josh Hallett, via Wikimedia Commons

Jamie Lee Curtis Disposable Diaper patent
Disposable diaper patent by Jamie Lee Curtis.


11)  Gary Burghoff – Chum Magic
Gary Burghoff gained fame for his depiction of the much-loved character, Walter “Radar” O’Reilly on the television series ‘M*A*S*H’ (1972 – 1983). Burghoff isn’t known for much other than that iconic role but off-screen he was inventive. Due to his passion for fishing, Burghoff developed a device that he named Chum Magic that was patented in 1992. It's a floating device that fisherman can use to lure fish to their vessels. Fisherman fill the device with Chum Magic, which keeps it secured on the surface of the water.

Gary Burghoff as "Radar" from "M*A*S*H"
Gary Burghoff played Radar in tv series M*A*S*H and invented Chum Magic.

Gary Burghoff's Chum Magic patent
Gary Burghoff invented Chum Magic.
Courtesy of www.google.com


10)  Robert Heinlein (1907 -1988) – The Waterbed
Although the name Robert Heinlein isn’t well known to the general community, he is a legend in the field of science fiction writing. His literature is considered as important and influential as other legends of the field, such as Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov. His talents extended beyond writing and in the 1930s, Heinlein created the design for the first waterbed. While serving in the Navy, he contracted pulmonary tuberculosis. As a result, he spent a lot of time in hospital beds, which he found incredibly uncomfortable. He spent his time drawing up meticulously detailed designs for the waterbed. From thereon, he mentioned the waterbed in his written work. Someone else attempted to patent the design in 1968 and they were rejected because Heinlein had detailed the product so thoroughly in his writing that, despite never trying to patent it, he was clearly the mind behind the product.

Robert Heinlein autographing a copy of his book "Midmericon"
Although the name Robert Heinlein isn’t well known to the general community, he is a legend in the field of science fiction writing and he created the water bed.
By Dd-b, via Wikimedia Commons


9)  Neil Young – Model Train Control
Musician, Neil Young, is one of the greatest vocalists and performers of all time. He had much influence on fellow musicians over the years. Surprisingly, Young's passion outside of music is model trains. He was at one time co-owner of Lionel LLC, the train model business that sold Young’s alterations to pre-existing train models. Perhaps his most significant invention resulted from his attempt get his son Ben involved in the hobby. Because Ben has cerebral palsy, he lacked the physical ability to use the standard controls found on most train sets. Young set about inventing a whole new control that Ben would be able to use. His design was called the “Trainmaster Command Control” and it was a programmable system that reduced complicated maneuvers to something that Ben could handle just by tapping a button.

Neil Young
Neil Young's passion outside of music is model trains.
By Andy Roo, via Wikimedia Commons

Neil Young's Model Train Control patent
Neil Youngs patent design was called the “Trainmaster Command Control”.
Courtesy of www.google.com


8)  Eddie Van Halen – Guitar Support
Eddie Van Halen is a guitar legend who is best known for his involvement in the rock group Van Halen. He is particularly remembered for doing a signature move while performing that involves a two-hand tapping technique. The move involves him playing the guitar’s fret board with all ten fingers at once, an inherent problem with this move is holding up the guitar neck. Van Halen (Eddie) developed a unique way around the issue in 1985 by designing a special support system that could come out of the instrument’s back, stabilizing the fret board while playing. Although he designed the invention to use himself, his patent specified that it was applicable to any stringed instrument.

Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen is a guitar legend who is best known for his involvement in the rock group Van Halen.
By Alan Light, via Wikimedia Commons

Eddie Van Halen's Guitar Support patent
Eddie Van Halen designed a special support system that could come out of the instrument’s back, stabilizing the fret board while playing.
Courtesy of www.google.com


7)  Marlon Brando (1924-2004) – Drum Tuning Device and Exercise Shoes
Screen legend, Marlon Brando, was an eccentric recluse with a number of curious interests and obsessions. Nevertheless, one wouldn’t usually associate Brando with having a passion for drums. Surprisingly, Brando ended up designing a groundbreaking tuning system for the percussive instrument. In 2002, he had a device patented that stretches a drum's skin when it starts to wane in tension. It can tune a drum either manually or automatically. He had patents for a number of other devices he developed in relation to drums. According to his attorney, Brando also invented a special exercise shoe that he would wear in his pool. The shoe creates friction with the surface of the pool, making a better way for him to work out. Although Brando never patented this particular design, his attorney is reportedly aiming to market the product.

Marlon Brando
Screen legend, Marlon Brando, was an eccentric recluse with a number of curious interests and obsessions.

Marlon Brando's Drum Tuning Device
In 2002, Marlon Brando had a device patented that stretches a drum's skin when it starts to wane in tension.
Courtesy of www.google.com


6)  Harry Connick, Jr. – Digital Sheet Music Display
Musician and actor, Harry Connick, Jr., has had success in a variety of fields, but many people are not aware of this celebrity’s inventiveness. Connick created a digital sheet music reader that can be edited. He first came up with the idea in 1999 when an outdoor performance went wrong due to the wind. The extensive band that accompanied him during his performance kept having their sheet music blown away. The electronic system allows for the coordination of sheet music to be used amongst the entire orchestra. The music is displayed on a screen and operates similar to the iPad. Even though Connick’s invention was developed long before Apple’s product, he still uses the device for his performances.

Harry Connick Jr.
Musician and actor, Harry Connick, Jr., has had success in a variety of fields, but many people are not aware of this celebrity’s inventiveness.
By Wendy Piersall, via Wikimedia Commons

Harry Connick Jr. Digital Sheet Music Display patent


5)  Michael Jackson (1958-2009) – Anti-Gravity Shoes
Pop legend, Michael Jackson, was famous for a number of reasons, including his distinct dance moves. One particular move that was deemed iconic and legendary was the “Moon Walk”. This was a move where he would appear to defy gravity by walking on the moon. The dance involved Jackson smoothly gliding across the stage, appearing to be beyond the center of gravity. The famous steps were first featured in the music video ‘Smooth Criminal". While making the video, the move was pulled off through the use of elaborately configured cables and a harness. However the move became possible for concert performances due to the special shoes that Jackson co-developed. In 1992, he had the design patented. Basically, the shoes worked by locking onto the stage right before Jackson performed the move.

Michael Jackson
Pop legend, Michael Jackson, was famous for a number of reasons, including his distinct dance moves.
By OguzJackson, via Wikimedia Commons

Michael Jackson's Anti Gravity Shoes Patent
Michael Jackson co-created the Anti Gravity defying shoes and had them patented in 1992.


4)  William Marston (1893-1947) – The Lie Detector

William Marston


William Marston and his wife Elizabeth created the comic book superhero “Wonder Woman” in 1941. One of her most important weapons is the Lasso of Truth, which makes people caught in it confess the truth. While the lasso was made up in the comics, Marston spent a large portion of his time creating a real-life equivalent of the weapon. This led to the development of the lie detector. Specifically, Marston was responsible for the version of the machine that monitored and measured a person’s blood pressure when they were attached to it. While attending Harvard in 1915, Marston constructed the lie detector machine. It was 1917 by the time he finished the invention and showed it to the government.


3)  Zeppo Marx (1901-1979) – Heart Attack Alarm
The Marx Brothers were cinematic comedy legends. While Groucho Marx received most of the attention, the other three brothers certainly left their own personal marks on the world. In Zeppo Marx’s case, his contribution was in more than just acting. Zeppo was the youngest brother and he contributed to the comedy acts but never had a distinct appearance on screen. What he lacked in his performance, Zeppo made up for in his creativeness.

Zeppo’s passion had always been engineering and immediately after leaving the entertainment world, he established a business that went on to produce a number of products that proved useful in everyday life. In 1969,Zeppo and a team of researchers developed a cardiac pulse rate monitor (a heart attack alarm) that alerted people when their pulse was misfiring to a dangerous level. The design featured two clock faces, one told the time and the other followed a person’s heart rate. If an individual’s pulse deviated significantly, the device would sound an alarm. Zeppo helped design one of the most beneficial medical devises.

Zeppo Marx
Zeppo was the youngest of the Marxs brother and he contributed to the comedy acts but never had a distinct appearance on screen.

Zeppo Marx Cardiac Pulse-Rate Monitor Patent
In 1969,Zeppo and a team of researchers developed a cardiac pulse rate monitor (a heart attack alarm) that alerted people when their pulse was misfiring to a dangerous level.
Courtesy of www.google.com


2)  Barbara Cartland (1901-2000) – Military Gliders
Many people know the name Barbara Cartland if they have read her classic romance novels. Cartland wrote 723 books between 1922 and 2000, , which made her one of the most productive authors ever. Despite her prolific writing, she did have time for hobbies and one of them was gliding. When she combined her passion with her creativity, she developed a glider that could be towed by a plane. Although her plan for the glider was for personal use, the British military saw combat applications in the design during World War II. Cartland’s gliders were specifically crucial in the Normandy landing, due to their affordability and expendability. The gliders were so important in the war effort that she was awarded the Bishop Wright Air Industry Award.

Barbara Cartland
Many people know the name Barbara Cartland if they have read her classic romance novels
By Allan warren, via Wikimedia Commons


1)  Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) – Wi-Fi
Actress, Hedy Lamarr, was a superstar in the 1930s and 1940s. She starred in more than 35 films and worked with other A-list celebrities: Clark Gable, Bob Hope and Judy Garland. She was largely famous for appearing in one of the big screen’s first sex scenes. In addition to acting, science was another passion of hers. One of Lamarr’s greatest roles in life was the one she had in essentially creating the current day cell phone networks and Wi-Fi internet.

In 1942, Lamarr, along with composer George Antheil, got a patent for their "secret communication system". It was a device that could utilize carrier waves of various frequencies to remotely control things like torpedoes and zeppelins. It was a guidance system that would ultimately become the basis of the modern wireless communications we use today. The origin of the idea was from Antheil, who assisted in developing the system that encrypted radio signals using the similar principles in a piano that uses perforated paper rolls. It was a relatively primitive device but it was indeed an analogue version of "spread-spectrum communication technology", which is the fundamental technology of Wi-Fi.

The reason why Lamarr and Antheil never received the recognition they deserved is because when they showed their technology to the military, those in charge failed to appreciate what they were being offered. It wasn’t until the 1960s, when the military was faced with the Cuban Missile Crisis that the government realized the genius of the technology. However, the patent had expired by then. Other creations by Lamarr include a fluorescent dog collar and alterations to the Concorde.

Hedy Lamarr
Actress, Hedy Lamarr, was a superstar in the 1930s and 1940s.

Hedy Lamarr's Secret Communication System patent
In 1942, Lamarr, along with composer George Antheil, got a patent for their "secret communication system".
Courtesy of www.google.com


Conclusion
It’s not uncommon for celebrities to be multi-talented, which is why it’s so remarkable when you see celebrities demonstrate great inventiveness in the least likely of areas. Not all celebrities get creative and develop something that is commonly used but the sheer act of creating something impressive is remarkable, even if their product isn’t exactly praised and thus goes unappreciated.


 

 

 

 

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