Automatic flag-waving hat
You can now clap, hold a drink, and still wave that flag at a parade or rally.
For a birthday gift, I had gotten a 'Dancin' Coke Can' - you know, one of those gift gimmicks that people chuckle over for about a minute and a half and then its just junk. It had a battery-powered mechanism inside that made the vinyl can wiggle. Being inquisitive (and the fact that it was now junk), I took the can apart to see how it worked. The mechanism created a simple back and forth motion. I wondered what other tasks this motion could do. From one direction, it looked like a waving motion. I thought what needed an automatic waving motion. When do we wave? Where do we wave? And why would it need to be automatic.
I had attended the Edmond Fourth of July parade a few weeks earlier and being dismayed that the Lions Club was passing out flags that were stamped 'Made in China'. For America's most patriotic day - flags from Communist China. How absurd and embarrassing. Anyway, I was trying to wave the flag and, at the same time, clap when the band went by. I couldn't do it. My hands were full. Eureka! An automatic flag waving hat. Stick the mechanism in a hat to wave a flag over someone's head and allow the hands to clap unencumbered.
Design and production
Now, to get to work. I considered several types of hats but the mechanism needed to be secured inside and it was sorta bulky. I saw a plastic hard hat - great, that would work. I bolted the mechanism inside and cut a hole for the flag to stick out. I even used one of the original 'Made in China' flags. Oh, did I mention that the 'Dancin' Coke Can' was sound activated - it would sway in response to music. Perfect. The flag would wave only when the band went by or when the wearer was clapping (or screaming).
I never pursued manufacturing and marketing. Not sure why not. There are other possibilities - flag banners of university mascots to wear at football games or homecoming parades. There are mascot hats (Arkansas Razorback, Green Bay Cheesehead) and hats that hold beer cans, fans, and lights. Flags with flgs or donkeys and elephants for use at a political coinvention. The flag waving hat could have been a big hit, but it was just a fun project.
Design and production: 1989