Elizabeth Valeri, our guest blogger, is a resident of Colorado with an interest in the material abundance of everyday life. That is, she is amused by the ways we “over-invent” our lives in a fleeting attempt at controlling them. She wanted to share some of her wacky patent finds with the readers of InventorSpot.com.
Here's her article:
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The Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force, may not end the age-old debate of whether or not centrifugal force actually exists, but it sure will take a pregnant woman’s mind off the business at hand during childbirth!
The device, which was patented on November 9, 1965, is a complicated machine consisting, basically, of a concrete slab with an elaborate motor mounted onto it, a table, metal straps, which the inventors, George and Charlotte Blonsky recommend, but do not insist, be made of iron to hold the victim — I mean, mother-to-be — in place, a rotary that looks something like a huge scythe, and a vaginal basket for catching the expulsed infant. Of course, the Blonskys were likely to encounter some problems from the outset. Namely, a hospital’s cost for acquiring and maintaining such a large-scale piece of equipment, not to mention the amount of dedicated floor space needed to house such a behemoth. Trickier however, is confronting and changing the way women and doctors envision the whole birthing process.
In simple terms, a woman in labor is strapped into the “Apparatus” and spun around at a speed that create[s] a gentle, evenly distributed, properly directed, precision-controlled force, that acts in unison with and supplements [mother’s] efforts. In everyday language: it’s as close as women have gotten to a passive delivery system since we all agreed that doping mothers as they are giving birth might not be the best thing for baby. The result? The baby is safely, well hopefully, expelled into the warm, expectant embrace of a woven basket! That’s right. A baby’s first tactile experience is not that of a doctor’s gentle touch, but rather, the impersonal sensation of an artificially constructed womb. (I guess the better to prepare the baby for the cold, impersonal world it is likely to encounter in the years ahead!) Although the very thought of all this is likely to diminish any TLC visions we might have of delivery rooms abuzz with joyful anticipation, the Blonskys’ were interested, mainly, in accelerating the childbirth process.
Like all inventors, the Blonskys sought to address a problem, namely the long, laborious process of giving birth. Never having had any children of their own, the inspiration for the Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force came from observing a pregnant elephant in labor. Although this might seem reasonable enough, the scenario takes on a somewhat more sinister aspect when we learn how the couple, applying for a patent in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement and Sexual Revolution, interpreted the event at hand. In the case of a woman who has a fully developed muscular system and has had ample physical exertion all through the pregnancy, as is common with all more primitive peoples, nature provides all the necessary equipment and power to have a normal and quick delivery. This is not the case, however, with more civilized women, who often do not have the opportunity to develop the muscles needed in confinement. Perhaps then, only more “civilized” women would be distracted by the look and spin of the Blonskys’ apparatus while giving birth. That’s because the more “primitive” among us, not unlike the elephant that started it all, are already too distracted by the demands of survival to notice.