I've found a new hobby: patent searches! Riveting stuff, I admit. Sure, I could spend more time memorizing basketball stats so I could hold a conversation with normal people, but why do that when I can find buildings shaped like corn?
I was working on a story about Wigwam Village Motel No. 6 for Weird Arizona and I thought I'd take a stab at finding Frank Redford's original patent — not an easy task, seeing as all patents prior to 1976 are in image form only and I didn't even know the exact year (I had read both 1936 and 1937).
When my second result was a building shaped like a teacup, though, I believed I was on the right track. Unfortunately, the next 45 minutes were spent wading through patent after patent for shingles, glass blocks and linoleum composition flooring material. But I finally found it! Keep in mind this was before WWII, so the swastika painted on its side had not yet taken on the stigma it suffers today.
Other items I tripped over in the process:
- The Trylon and Perisphere from the 1939 New York World's Fair
- A railroad-based "Portable Gas Station"
- A "Restaurant Booth" shaped like a coffee pot
- A building in the form of a shoe, invented by a man in Tyler, Texas
I'm going to be spending some late nights doing this, I know.
Update: I've changed the links from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to the more user-friendly Google patent search. Enjoy.