Happy Thanksgiving and Turkey Frying Patents

By Gene Quinn
November 24, 2011

Did you know that since President George H. W. Bush started the tradition of pardoning turkeys in 1989 there have been 24 turkeys to receive Presidential Pardons, sparing them from the dinner table?  Somewhat ironically, that first turkey to receive a Presidential Pardon was sent to Frying Pan Park in Herndon, Virginia.  In any event, the latest two turkeys to receive a Pardon were Peace and Liberty, both who received a pardon by President Barack Obama in a ceremony held on the North Portico of the White House.

But was President George H. W. Bush the first to pardon a turkey?  According to the definitive history of turkey pardons on the White House blog, the answer is technically yes but not really yes.  While there are rumors that President Lincoln issued the first pardon at the behest of his son, it is known that in 1963 President Kennedy returned the turkey sent to the White House saying: “We’ll just let this one grow.”  Perhaps not exactly a pardon, but the turkey was spared the death penalty.

On this most festive of American holidays, where we emerse ourselves with family, food and football, I am once again inspired to share some thematically appropriate patents.  After all, what better way to celebrate a holiday than reading patents appropriate for the festivities? With that in mind, I celebrate the turkeys that won’t get away.  You know, the ones who are not lucky enough to receive a Presidential Pardon — the ones you and I will be enjoying with family and friends!  So with that in mind, let’s talk deep fried turkey!

Of course, whatever you do, if you are going to deep fry your turkey remember 2 things (at least).  First, make sure the turkey is thawed, you don’t want to put something frozen into a pot of boiling oil!  Second, for goodness sakes don’t fill the turkey fryer to the top with oil and then put in the turkey!  Let Archimedes be your guide.  If you fill the fryer to the top with oil the boiling oil that overflows the cooking vessel will be equal in volume to that of the turkey you just dropped into the cooking vessel!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Safety shut off for a portable cooker
US Patent No. 7227107
Issued June 5, 2007

This invention is described as a portable cooking facilitator, which is particularly well suited for use as both a timer and cooking process facilitator.  The majority of the disclosure relates to means for providing to an operator cooking time information through the input of a food characteristic such as the input of, for example, the weight of an object to be cooked which has a weight associated cooking time.  Most of the drawings are in the shape of a turkey, such as Figure 1 (left).

What ultimately was patented (i.e., protected by the claims) was a gas flow shut-off system for use with an outdoor cooking apparatus with gas source and burner and cooking vessel support.  The claimed invention comprises a turkey fryer; a gas flow shut-off device; and a timer in association with the gas flow shut-off device that triggers activity in said gas flow shut-off device upon a predetermined time interval passing.  This seems to be more appropriately characterized by Figure 20 (see below).

Also protected in this patent, in claim 14, is a method of cooking a turkey.  Structurally the method of cooking a turkey requires an outdoor cooking apparatus with gas source, burner, gas flow conduit feeding gas from said gas source to said burner, a cooking vessel and a cooking vessel support.  Once the apparatus is in place you place the turkey in the cooking vessel with cooking oil and then you set a timer associated with a gas flow shut-off device positioned in line with said gas flow conduit.  There is also a required step of resetting the timer prior to completion which is said to somehow ensure attentiveness in an operator of the cooking apparatus.  So even if you cook your turkey in a fryer this holiday season the likelihood that you will infringe these method claims seems enormously low.

Turkey fryer w/ vertical stacked cooking racks
US Patent No. 8025007
Issued September  27, 2011

This invention is a deep frying apparatus for cooking food items within a deep stock pot. The apparatus includes a pot-shaped basket and a plurality of stackable cooking racks with flat screen bodies and spaced handles which project vertically from the screens and which concomitantly provide a loop for handling each rack and for spacing apart adjacent stacked racks. A bottom-most cooking rack further includes feet which raises the bottom-most rack’s screen above a bottom wall of the basket when inserted therein.

For other turkey and Thanksgiving themed patents please see these other articles:

For more festive patents check out our Holiday Patents page too!


The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author as of the time of publication and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 2 Comments comments.

  1. Steve M November 24, 2011 10:55 am

    Happy Thanksgiving to you both!

    Thanks for all the great information you provide.

    The IP field wouldn’t be the the same without you.

  2. Gene Quinn November 24, 2011 1:01 pm

    Thanks Steve. I hope you and your family have a great holiday! Thanks for reading and contributing!

    Happy Thanksgiving!