Top 10 Most Useful Patented Inventions

The 2012 National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees were announced late last week and Steve Jobs, co-founder of both Apple and Pixar, with more than 300 patents under his belt, was posthumously honored. According to the Invent Now Web site, Jobs is credited "with revolutionizing entire industries, including personal computing, mobile phones, animated movies, digital publishing and retailing."

The National Inventors Hall of Fame was established in 1973 to honor some of the best patented inventions throughout history. Rifling through the Web site, there are tons of inventions you may never think of, or maybe even consider inventions, but they have changed the way we do things.

Here are our top ten most useful patented inventions. 10. Cereal - Patent No. 558,393

Every morning when you pour yourself a nice bowl of Fruity Pebbles, do you ever think about how important cereal is to our daily existence? Flaked Cereal was patented by John Harvey Kellogg, who stumbled upon the idea by forgetting to properly store a slab of wheat dough. He turned the dough into flakes and fed them to patients at the wellness sanitarium he ran. They were such a hit, he patented the process. Can you imagine life without cereal? What would you single guys eat for dinner? And would the raisin industry even need to exist?

9. Bottle-Sealing Device - Patent No. 468,226

Before William Painter developed the Crown Cork, sodas and pop would lose their fizz pretty quickly. Painter created a metal cap with a "corrugated-flange edge [that] was lined with a thin cork disc and a special paper backing to seal the bottle and prevent contact between the metal cap and the drink." Thank God that Painter realized back then what we all know now -- there is nothing nastier than flat beer. 8. Synthetic Diamonds - Patent #: 2,947,611

All you "scrubs" out there should be grateful to Francis P. Bundy for inventing the process that creates synthetic diamonds. Without fake diamonds, what would you all be buying your boos when they are tripping at you for not having a job still?

7. Foot Measuring Device - Patent #: 1,682,366

Do you remember being a kid and going with your mom to get new school shoes? You had to step on that metal foot plate, which measured your shoe size so the store clerk knew which size Reebok Pumps to get from the back. You may never have thought about Charles F. Brannock and his foot-measuring device before, but now maybe you will...for like ten seconds. And you're done.

6. Social Game - Patent No. 53,561

Board games! Milton Bradley and his patented board game idea have been saving the sheer awkwardness of family fun night for decades. Additionally, without board games the world mighty have never known Words With Friends, and then what would you be doing to occupy yourself on long lines or while sitting on the toilet? 5. Ice Rink Resurfacing Machine - Patent #: 2,642,679

The Zamboni at the ice rink is a patented design bearing the name of its creator, Frank Zamboni. He created the prototype in 1949 and the idea really took off after the 1960 Winter Olympics. Is the Zamboni vital to our existence? Not at all. Do we all really want to ride one, though? Hell yeah!

4. Improvement in Paper-Bag Machines - Patent No. 220,925

Paper or plastic? Before the paper bag machine, invented by Margaret Knight, it took 30 people to put together a paper bag. The flat-bottomed bag maker Knight developed sliced, folded and glued paper bags, which automated the process and cut down on the expense of manual labor. Now if Knight had also invented a machine that understood how to properly stuff groceries into said bags without having your eggs shoved underneath your canned goods and if it would then, please, carry those bags out to your car -- that would be some shit. 3. Improvement in Concentration of Milk - Patent No. 15,553

I cannot say I know all that much about the importance of concentrated milk, which was invented by Gail Borden. It sounds like a good item to have in the house and you need it to make a standard pumpkin pie. I do not think you are supposed to put concentrated milk in your coffee, but I wouldn't be surprised if people did this all the time. 2. Dress-Pin - Patent No. 6,281

For women, the invention of the safety pin has had a huge impact on our feminine lives. Thanks to Walter Hunt's brilliant idea of twisting a piece of metal to act as a spring and bending a sharper piece of metal into it, women everywhere have lived through potentially life-ending embarrassment. Broken bra straps, ripped seams and underarm holes were all solved thanks to the safety pin. Additionally, you can use a safety pin to pierce your ears when you are 16, put a bunch on a pair of jeans to look bad-ass and clean gunk from in between your teeth when no one is looking.

1. Post-it Notes - Patent #: 5,194,299

Arthur Fry took a previous invention of Spencer Silver and created the Post-it. Fry worked for 3M and the Post-It is one of their most noted products. The Post-it is such a bizarrely American necessity. I need to write a note, but I don't want to write it on a notebook or even just a regular piece of paper that I can easily throw away. No, I need to write a note that will stand out because it's neon yellow and I want to place it on walls and desks, but I don't want to commit to whatever I am writing, so as soon as I am done with it, I better be able to rip that sucker off whatever surface it is on and throw it away!

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Abby Koenig
Contact: Abby Koenig