According to the U.S. Patent, the machine was described as a Device For Obtaining Intimate Contact With Engaging, Or Clamping Bodies Of Any Shape, or DFOICWEOCBOAS for easy. It contained 30 nested rotating jaws.
Application filed March 21, 1912. Serial No. 685,288.
The invention purposes to effect by means of rotatable and oscillatable cheeks, an intimate contact, engagement with or clamping of bodies of any shape, the contact being effected at as many points as possible, Whereby owing to the reactions or the automatic adjustment to the position of equilibrium of all the cheeks, if the latter are symmetrically arranged, the pressure is uniformly distributed over all points of contact, while if the arrangement is unsymmetrical there is a greater pressure to one side.
Greek-American inventor Elie Aghnides amassed a fortune coming up with clever inventions.
One of his more unusual creations was the “Rhino,” an amphibious four-wheeled vehicle designed to patrol and defend the vast roadless wastes of Alaska and Canada.
Weighing in at five tons, the four-wheel-drive machine could hit speeds of 45 miles per hour on the highway.
Defining features were its massive front wheels, which had six-foot diameters and weighed 1,500 pounds each. Their hollow, hemispherical shape gave the Rhino its unique all-terrain capability. As the vehicle sank into mud, sand, or other soft surfaces, the bearing surface of the ribbed wheels increased, giving it greater traction.
The Rhino’s massive wheels and low center of gravity also meant it could tip 75 degrees to either side without toppling over.
In the water, the hollow wheels provided flotation, while a rear water jet provided propulsion at speeds of about four miles per hour.
The Marmon-Herrington Company of Indianapolis built one prototype of the Rhino for demonstration. The United States military declined to purchase any, reportedly out of concern that the wheels could be punctured by gunfire, sinking the vehicle [via].
Not only could it float, it had such a low center of gravity that it was nearly impossible to overturn. Here it is in action:
UPDATE: In the interview with Daily Dot (linked above) Steve Wilhite said that he thought the first .GIF animation was of an airplane. This is one of the first that I ever captured, several computers ago:
Here it is, all blowed up, in 5 frames of pixellated glory:
Is this the first .gif animation Wilhite was referring to? I don’t know, but it’s a contender.
On 26 March 2002 awesome happened. Ross Eugene Long III of Oakland California was awarded U.S. Patent 6360393. He invented the stick.
Abstract: An apparatus for use as a toy by an animal, for example a dog, to either fetch carry or chew includes a main section with at least one protrusion extending therefrom that resembles a branch in appearance. The toy is formed of any of a number of materials including rubber, plastic, or wood including wood composites and is solid. It is either rigid or flexible. A flavoring (scent) is added, if desired. The toy is adapted to float by including a material therein that is lighter than water or it is adapted to glow in the dark, as desired, by the addition of a fluorescent material that is either included in the material from which the toy is made or the flourescent material is applied thereto as a coating. The toy may be segmented (i.e., notched) so as to break off into smaller segments, as is useful for smaller animals or, alternatively, to extend the life of the toy. Various textured surfaces including camouflage colorings are anticipated as are straight or curved main sections. The toy may be formed of any desired material, as described, so as to be edible by the animal.
Not only did Eugene Long III invent the stick, he attached 20 claims to it based upon different materials and options that might be used to manufacture it. Pure brilliance, that.
[Full text of Patent here. Story discovered here. Additional info on the history of the Patent here. More awesome Contributions to The World here.]