While watching Elastic Youth’s ‘Interpreting the Scrunchie’,  I was amazed to learn that such an obvious object could be patented. The controversial scrunchie was first patented in 1987 under the brand name “scünci”, named after inventress Rommy Revson’s toy poodle.

Below is Rommy Revson’s original design for the scrunchie. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)

Google offers a patent search, which offers an insight into thousands of patents, many accompanied with quirky diagrams. Below shows the 'Method of concealing partial baldness' using only the hair on a person's head, 'invented' by Donald and Frank Smith.

Browsing through patents, it's facinating to see how certain products have evolved over the years, notably, the humble paperclip.

The modern paper clip (636,272) was patented in 1899 to William D. Middlebrook of Connecticut but prior to this invention were many attempts to create a simple paper fastening device. Below are a few personal highlights:

Samufc B. Fay's Ticket Fastener, 64088 (1867)

Smith & Sawyer's Paper Clip, D7510 (1874)

Edward. D Rockwell's Paper Clip, 426216 (1890)

Edward. D Rockwell's Paper Clip, 443210 (1890)

George. P Farmer's Paper Clip, 513772 (1894)

Mathew Schooley's Paper Clip, 601384 (1898)

Later, more elaborate designs by Harold A. Wright, 674290 (1901)