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Plucked From Obscurity: Kissing and Tongue Shields

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research, now in all-pdf form. Get a subscription now for only $25 a year! 

Inventive, yet under-publicized devices
by Marina Tsipis, Improbable Research staff

Deloris Gray Wood applied an inventive cloak to kissing, resulting in two patents.

Wooden Adaptations to Kissing
“Kissing Shield,” U.S. patent 5787895, granted August 4, 1998 to Deloris Gray Wood. The patent document explains:

A kissing shield comprised of a thin, flexible membrane and a frame or holder. The membrane is closed on three sides, a fourth side remaining open so that the membrane can be stretched over the frame or holder. The frame or holder consists of a supporting member and an elongated handle. The supporting member adapts over the bottom part of the user’s face and has sufficient dimension to cover the lips and most of the cheeks and extends from under the nose to the bottom of the chin. ... [The] user places the kissing shield under his nose, so that it covers his lips, cheeks and chin. The user then positions the kissing shield between his lips and the lips or cheek of the individual he plans to kiss and kisses the intended recipient of his affection.

This led to the development of an intimately related invention:

“Kissing Shield Game and Method of Use Thereof,” US patent application 20140232062 A1, filed April 30, 2014 by Deloris Wood (relating to a similar applicaiton she filed in 1999). The document explains:

[A] need exists for a board game utilizing the kissing shield that teaches safe affection. It is to such a board game that the present invention is directed....

In one embodiment of the invention, a kissing shield game includes a plurality of removable pegs 15, a playing surface 16, a gaming member 18, a plurality of thin, flexible membranes 10, and a resettable timer 100.

Referring now to FIG. 8, the playing surface 16 has a plurality of holes 20. Each of the plurality of holes 20 is capable of receiving at least one of a plurality of removable pegs 15 which may be colored. In addition, each of the plurality of flexible membranes 10 may also be colored. Any color may be used for the plurality of removable pegs 15, however, the color of each of the plurality of removable pegs 15 will preferably correspond to the color of the flexible membranes 10.

The Guiseyan Tongue Approach
Long before Wood devised the kissing shield, Gaitley Guise invented a more specialized item, mainly for a different purpose.

“Tongue-shield”, US patent 1365684, granted January 18, 1921 to Gaitley Guise. Guise writes:

The general object of my invention is to provide a shield adapted to be slipped onto the tongue with the purpose of preventing the unpleasantness accompanying the taking of medicine....

Figure l is a longitudinal vertical section of the tongue shield embodying my invention, showing the same in use, a human head being indicated partly broken away and in section.


The article above is from the September-October 2015 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can download or purchase back issues of the magazine, or subscribe to receive future issues in pdf form for only $25 a year! Or get a subscription for someone as a gift!

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