Wednesday, August 15, 2012


My Grandpa Yeo was an inventor. Wouldn't that just be the coolest job description to have? I think he invented fishing lures and spoons, some of which I understand are still used in the salmon fishing industry. He raised his family on Bainbridge Island, Washington, so I imagine there was a lot of salmon for dinner.

This came to mind because, on our return from a weekend trip to Muskegon, MI, we saw a road crew moving those big orange cones they use to block off a lane of traffic. On the highway, they didn't have some guy walk along and get them, or reach off a truck to snag them as I have seen in town. Instead, they had sort of a metal scoop on the front of a truck, and drove to the cone, scooped it from the lane and drove to the side of the road where it slid off into place.

Now you just KNOW some road crew person invented this. It was such an obviously safe, efficient way to do this job! Someone must have figured this out, maybe put a little diagram in a suggestion box somewhere, and there you go. Hope they got a nice big bonus.

Then there are inventions that just make you think "whaaaat? and why?" My favorite dumb invention is the Rotato. Yes, I find the name as stupid as the thing itself. You were supposed to stick a potato on this devise and crank the handle to peel the potato all in one long piece. They didn't work that well, and even if they did - why? Yes, peeling potatoes isn't a ton of fun, but lining up a lumpy potato and getting the blade JUST RIGHT - well, the potato they used in the ad is probably the only one that actually fit.

And yes, I unfortunately had one. Someone gave it to me as a housewarming gift. It sat on a shelf for a while and was finally donated, unopened, to Goodwill.

Inventions. Some are great. Grandpa Yeo's supported a large family in a beautiful setting. And some just need to be recycled.


  1. Yep, the Rotato was a DAWG. My own personal not-so-favorite invention was The Hotdogger. Not being one who especially enjoys eating Frankenfurters..., I kind of hated the whole concept. Long ago, someone, some family member, gave a Hotdogger to Gordon's elderly widowed, never cooked a thing for himself in his life, Grandpa. What were they thinking? Did they really want Grandpa W. to live on badly warmed over hot dogs? The entire Hotdogger concept was based on weenie electrocution. But then, Grandpa might have been gifted a Rotato. Probably better than the Hotdogger. Made by Presto, I'm pretty sure. Send before midnight tonight...

  2. Let's not forget the father of telesales, Ron Popeil. The Pocket Fisherman is STILL selling!

  3. My Grandpa Smith was a physician and an inventor. He invented his own X-Ray machine, and an electrical device that burned the hemorrhoids off of people's bums. My Aunt Alice still hasn't forgiven him.