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Patenting During Downturns

From 1929 to 1939, Australia, like other nations, suffered during the Great Depression. Australian unemployment reached a record high of around 30% in 1932. Fast forward about 90 years and Australia, like most of the world, is again facing the possibility of another great depression spurred on this time by a pandemic.

However, the Great Depression was also a time of great ingenuity driven by a combination of necessity, boredom and the great human spirit of survival. We have The Great Depression to thank for the following five handy items that are still in use today.

  1. The Electric Razor – patented in 1930 by Colonel Jacob Schick who grew tired of lathering his face to shave in cold water.
  2. The Car Radio (1930) – invented by Paul and Joseph Galvin. Legend has it that the invention was conceived while the brothers were on a double date.
  3. The Tampon – invented by Dr Earle Haas (a man) out of sympathy for his wife, who was unable or unwilling to go swimming during her period.
  4. Chocolate Chip Cookies (1933) – invented by Ruth Graves Wakefield allegedly by accident while trying to make a chocolate cookie.
  5. Monopoly (1935) – patented by Charles Darrow while he was out of work. He was inspired by observing friends and neighbours playing a homemade board game where the object of the game was to buy and sell property.

So, while these may be difficult times, there is some comfort in knowing that another chocolate chip cookie-type invention or patent is just around the corner. We at Kings have great confidence in the Australian fighting spirit. Who knows? Maybe the next Hills Hoist-type invention may be appearing in a backyard near you.


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