7 Clever Thanksgiving Inventions

If the responsibility for preparing the family’s Thanksgiving feast has ever fallen into your lap, then you probably spent a few anxious weeks getting ready to make certain that all of the details were taken care of. Along the way, you may have found yourself wishing that there was something to make all of that preparation a little easier.

Luckily, inventors throughout the decades have been creating technology that makes preparing for Thanksgiving easier than ever. Take a look at these seven inventions to decide which ones you want to use for Thanksgiving this year.

Method for Forming Biscuits – Zoeller, et al. 1960

method for forming biscuits patent

Most families have at least one member who makes amazing biscuits. Unfortunately, your relative probably never had access to this interesting patent, the application for which was filed by the Pillsbury Co.

According to the patent, the invention was a new method for forming biscuits from a single sheet of dough. The method would actually form the biscuits to make them look as though they had been “spirally wound” like a cinnamon roll.

The powers that be at Pillsbury evidently were concerned that current methods for making fancy biscuits were simply too complicated and time-consuming to be commercially viable. This invention was meant to correct that deficiency.

Preparation of Frozen Stuffed Fowl – Rogers, et al. 1960

frozen stuffed fowl patent

This must have been a very good year for Thanksgiving innovations between the new method for making biscuits and this invention that is supposed to help with stuffing a frozen turkey.

The inventors appear to have felt that waiting for a turkey to defrost so that it can be stuffed is simply too frustrating. In fact, they didn’t think that consumers should have to stuff their turkeys at all.

The solution was to sell a frozen, already-stuffed turkey that could be taken out of the freezer and put immediately into the oven. With one invention, the cook no longer needed to worry about thawing the bird or stuffing it and sewing it up.

Whatever happened to these pre-stuffed fowls? Did they ever make it to the marketplace?

Automatic Mashed Potato System – O’Connor 2007

automatic mashed potato patent

Next to stuffing, mashed potatoes are probably the most popular side dish on Thanksgiving. However, anyone who has ever made mashed potatoes knows that it’s a lot of work, particularly when you’re cooking for a crowd.

This mashed potato patent system even included “a seasoning unit” so that every batch would be seasoned to perfection. In fact, this was the ultimate all-in-one system as the user simply needed to add potatoes and water. The machine cooked the potatoes and had an automated drain to release the water. The seasoning unit then went to work, and then the “mashing apparatus” would mash the cooked potatoes to the perfect consistency.

The only thing this machine didn’t do was peel the potatoes.

Method of Preparing Edible Fowl – Sieczkiewicz 1958

method for preparing fowl patent

The title of this patent sounds rather vague. What it really describes is a method of quickly and easily de-boning a turkey. The genius of this invention is that it made it possible to remove “the bones from an edible fowl in such a manner as to preserve substantially the entire outer skin of the fowl.” Once the bones were removed, the user was intended to stuff and cook the bird in a more attractive and easy to eat manner.

The inventor states that this method means that there is no longer a risk of having to remove or damage the turkey’s skin, which apparently makes the fowl less aesthetically pleasing.

Roaster for Chestnuts and the Like – Saburo 1929

On the eve of the Great Depression, this enterprising invention seems to have never quite taken off. That’s unfortunate, because enjoying fresh roasted chestnuts would definitely add to any Thanksgiving gathering.

Basically, this patent was targeted at improving roasters so that they could produce roasted chestnuts “in a highly efficient and economical manner.” Moreover, the invention was intended to make it easier to remove the nuts from the roaster without getting burned.

Pie Filling Device – Mooney 1986

In addition to the turkey, perhaps no traditional Thanksgiving dish is as anxiety-inducing to the cook as the pie. Fortunately, this inventor’s pie filling device is designed to make dessert easier on everyone.

The invention consists of a “pumping apparatus” that could be mounted on a shelf or “mobile cart” so that it could quickly and cleanly transfer pie filling into pie crust. Meant to be used in a small bakery, the pie crusts would already be in the oven, and the pump would add the filling via an outlet hose. It’s probably too complicated for use in home kitchens, but maybe some bakeries are actually using this apparatus.

Pumpkin Powder – Gere 1897

This much older invention does not sound particularly appetizing to modern ears. Of course, few people want to make a pumpkin pie from scratch, so perhaps pumpkin powder is a sensible compromise.

Instant pumpkin powder could be mixed with milk or water and immediately used as pie filling, thereby eliminating the need to cook the pumpkin before preparing it for use as pie filling. This was an improvement over existing powdered pumpkin products that had to be cooked after being rehydrated.

Perhaps it makes more sense to stick with canned pumpkin this year.

Ask Williams IP Law About Protecting Your Invention

Your invention may not revolutionize Thanksgiving feasts around the country, but it still may have the potential to make life easier and better for people around the world.

Contact patent attorney Jeff Williams to learn more about how you can patent your new product or process.

Author: Jeff Williams

Jeff Williams is an experienced mechanical engineer and lawyer that consults closely with clients in a strait forward and clear manner.  He brings a particular set of strengths and unique perspectives to the firm.    
 Jeff received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Arizona State University in 2005.  He was an engineer for a number of years at a number of large corporations before pursuing his law degree.  He graduated from Texas A&M University School of Law (formerly Texas Wesleyan University School of Law) with a J.D. in 2010.  By combining his education and prior work experience into the field of intellectual property law, Jeff has developed key skills to fully assist clients.