Thankful for Patents

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Every year around the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, we see a rash of stories about people burning their houses down by incorrectly trying to deep fry their turkey. For every problem that exists (as we all know) there is someone trying to patent a solution. Today we’ll take a look at some of the best practices for deep frying turkeys (not to be confused with Intellogist’s Best Practices section about patent searching) and the patents inspired by this delicious dish.

For me, Thanksgiving is usually less intense than burning the house down with an oil fire (usually). I’m blessed that I get along well with my family, it’s usually not too big of an affair, and the food turns out well (and not well charred). The most heated moment is usually during the annual Detroit Lions football game, when they inevitably bumble and squander any chance of winning the game. They’ve been so bad for so long that another terrible loss has become part of the tradition. To everyone out there, I apologize you’ve had to watch them for so many years in a row.

Getting off the subject of on-field turkeys, follow along with us as we look at some of the issues surrounding turkey frying safety and the patents that set out to keep our birds cooked properly and prevent massive fireballs from erupting. Let’s have some fun!

According to the Anchorage Fire Department, there are many potential hazards in the process of frying a turkey:

* Many units easily tip over, spilling the hot oil from the cooking pot
* If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the fryer when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner or flames, causing a fire to engulf the entire unit and anything or anyone that is nearby.
* Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect; this too may result in a fire starting.
* Heat from the fryer can make the lid and handles of the fryer extremely hot, raising the potential for severe burns.
* Most units do not have automatic thermostat controls, so oil may heat until it catches fire.

The main issues that can cause a fire involve spilling the oil and lacking a safety shutoff. Let’s see if we can find any patent documents out there that touch on these pitfalls.

To the PatCave! (Sorry for the corny joke)

The aptly titled patent application “Safe Turkey Deep Fryer” by Osias Jr. (US 2006/0272633 A1) seeks to correct the oil spilling problem by employing “an overflow sleeve integral to the cauldron, and a drain basin connected to the overflow sleeve.” This patent application was abandoned in 2009, but it makes sense that allowing the overflow to move to another container instead of directly onto a white hot flame could prevent a raging fire. Or, one could simply follow directions and not put so much darn oil in the cauldron!

The similarly simply titled and designed granted patent, “Safety Shut Off for a Portable Cooker” by McLemore et al. (US 7,227,107) <a href="“>addresses our second problem, touting:

A cooking facilitator which is preferably portable and well suited for use as both a timer and cooking process facilitator having particular usefulness with cooking objects which have a characteristic associated with establishing a cooking time such as the weight of a turkey in the case of deep frying a turkey or the thickness of a steak in deep frying the same. A gas flow timer for shutting off an overheated or unattended cooking system is also featured.

Other than installing this timer and shut off, one could simply pay attention to the turkey. On the other hand, if you’re worried about the Lions putting you to sleep, maybe a safety shut off isn’t such a bad idea after all…

Regardless of your cooking plans this Thanksgiving, we here at the Intellogist Blog would like to give thanks for your continued support of us,, and Landon IP. We’ve been seeing the blog take off lately and it’s thanks to you, the great word of mouth, and feedback that you give us. Stay safe this Thanksgiving and give us your best Thanksgiving stories in the comments below!

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This post was edited by Intellogist® Team member Chris Jagalla. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company, Landon IP, a major provider of patent search, technical translation, and information services.


7 Responses

  1. or you could cook it in an oven for 3 to 4 hours and avoid the problem altogether!
    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a worse way to cook a turkey

  2. Ha! I told Chris I can’t watch the turkey fryer flare-ups without going in to full-on panic mode. Although really, just contemplating cooking a turkey via any method puts me into full-on panic mode. I’m thankful for my mother-in-law and her Thanksgiving hosting skills. :o)

  3. Great post! One year my oven quit on Thanksgiving morning, so I cooked my turkey on my gas grill! It took my entire tank of gas and about four hours, but it was fantastic!

  4. I think every possible method has been used to cook a turkey. Blowtorch anyone?

  5. […] up, the Intellogist’s post Thankful for Patents discusses a patent application for a Safe Turkey Deep Fryer: The aptly titled patent application […]

  6. My aunt rang up a butcher on christmas day to complain about the turkey she bought from him had no meat on it – he told her to turn it over – she had cooked it upside down!
    moral of the story – dont sell your next door neighbour a turkey without cooking instructions :o)

  7. Haha! Thanks for the great stories everyone! Did anything interesting happen to you this Thanksgiving?

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