They Invented What? (No. 9)
U.S. Pat. No. 6,055,910: Toy gas fired missile and launcher assembly.
Flatulence is the accumulation of excessive gas in the stomach or intestine. Because flatulence may be socially embarrassing, it is one of the most common complaints encountered in medical practice. Although a number of factors have been implicated in its pathogenesis, sometimes no cause can be found and it may therefore prove refractory to treatment. Thus, serious discussions of flatulence have led to little more than home remedies, largely empirically derived. Only in the last three decades has there emerged a science of flatology . . . .
A recreational activity practiced by some individuals is ignition of one’s own flatus. This is performed by using a lit match or candle, or a cigarette lighter. So widespread is this activity that there are web sites on the Internet devoted exclusively to explaining proper lighting techniques.
A major drawback of this popular practice is that it usually involves the hazardous coupling of fire, combustible gases and inebriated participants. Reports of serious burns to body parts are not uncommon, this being especially true when the participants remove their clothing . . . .
In view of the foregoing, the main object of this invention is to provide a safe toy which exploits the combustible properties of flatus to fire a toy missile into space.
1. A toy gas-fired missile and launcher assembly for use by a human operator comprising:
A. a missile composed of a head and a piston extending axially from the head;
B. a barrel for launching the missile whose piston is telescoped in the barrel, a negative pressure being produced when the piston is pulled out, said barrel having a closed end in which is mounted an electrically-activatable ignitor, a combustion chamber being defined between said closed end of the barrel and an end of the piston when it is fully inserted in the barrel;
C. Means to feed a combustible gas mixture into said chamber, including an intake tube communicating with said chamber and having a normally-closed valve and an inlet to the tube, the inlet of the intake tube being placeable adjacent an anal region of the operator from which colonic gas is emitted whereby when the piston is pulled out the resultant negative pressure acts to inhale the colonic gas into said chamber to produce the combustible gas mixture; and
D. means to apply an activating voltage to said ignitor to explode said mixture, thereby launching the missile.
2. An assembly as set forth in claim 1, in which the piston is cylindrical and is received in the barrel which is cylindrical.
3. An assembly as set forth in claim 1, in which said head is formed by a ball of flexible open-cell foam plastic material.
4. An assembly as set forth in claim 2, in which the foam plastic is urethane.
5. An assembly as set forth in claim 1, in which said ignitor is a glowplug.
6. An assembly as set forth in claim 5, in which said means to apply said voltage includes a casing mounted behind the end wall of the barrel and containing batteries and a switch mounted on the casing which when closed connects the batteries to the ignitor.
7. An assembly as set forth in claim 1, in which the intake tube is joined to the barrel and extends laterally therefrom.
8. An assembly as set forth in claim 7, in which the intake tube is hinged to the barrel and when not in use lies against the barrel.
9. An assembly as set forth in claim 1, in which intake tube is surrounded by a handle.