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Believe it or not, patent number 81,437 granted to Franz Vester of Newark, New Jersey on August 25, 1868 was for an escapable coffin. A strange invention indeed to those of us living in the 21st century but maybe not such a bad idea back then. Medical diagnosis not being what it is today, some victims of comas might have been sent to their graves prematurely. In fact, Vester's invention is included in a series of such coffins produced at that time that featured escape hatches or a means to signal if one were in the unfortunate circumstance of being buried alive. Vester's invention included a square tube that extended above the grave site allowing air inside the coffin. It also featured a way for above-ground onlookers to peek inside the coffin below, as well as a bell and cord that the buried chap could use to let everyone know he was still breathing. The tube even came complete with a ladder. This is certainly an invention story to illustrate that new inventions can be as weird as the human race and still be worthy of patent protection.