Jane Embury from Wrightstyle

It has been a ground-breaking year for Wrightstyle, in which we have supplied systems for the new US Marines Chapel in the US, the Dubai Metro in the UAE and for a FIFA World Cup stadium in South Africa.

At Wrightstyle, we know everything there is to know about glazing systems, and we intend to stick to what we know, investing in design and development, staying ahead of the competition through creativity and innovation.

But our products and systems don’t make the ideal Christmas gift, which is why I’d like to offer some suggestions. Best of all, especially for people you don’t like, is the coat parachute. That was the brainchild of Franz Reichelt who in 1912 fell to his death off the first deck of the Eiffel Tower while testing his fantastic new invention.

However, much more useful is the hot-air balloon that, for propulsion, can be attached to an eagle or vulture. Of course, you must first capture your large bird, and can then only travel where it wants to go (patent number 863087, issued 1887, if you’re interested). If you or your loved one can’t be bothered cleaning the kitchen floor, how about giving each other duster slippers for cats. Just attach them to your cat’s paws, and that’s the floor done. Brilliant.

Less useful is the solar-powered flashlight. The beauty of this invention is, of course, that it works well on sunny days – but less well in the middle of the night, just when you might need it. The Japanese seem very good at these kind of inventions. For example, dog goggles to protect your pet from strong sunlight or dust. They even have a name for it – chindogu, meaning the art of the un-useless idea.

One I like is the toilet roll dispenser that you attach to the top of your head, to make it easier to blow your nose. Wouldn’t it be more convenient to have some tissues in your pocket? Apparently not.

Some Christmas gift ideas are probably illegal – for example, the plough (patented 1862) that handily doubles as an artillery piece. More useful for a heavy-sleeping partner is the alarm clock with an alarming difference (patented 1882). This makes use of a clockwork mechanism to drop weights onto the sleeping person and wake them up.

As a glass company we rather like Herkimer J. Karkowski’s invention (patented 1903) to preserve the body of a dead loved one inside a block of glass. The New Yorker also had the foresight to realise that this might take up a lot of space and be rather heavy. His other idea was simply to preserve the head – a talking piece (so to speak) at any Christmas party.

For your wife or girlfriend, why not give her a water-filled bra (patented 1988). The American inventor, James Moreau, explained that it would be a “a brassiere, which surrounds the breasts with water, so that a buoyant force provides improved and independent support for each breast. A transparent version is suggested for those who wish to make a fashion statement.”

Another good Christmas gift, apposite in this period of over-indulgence, is the alarm-equipped fork, which buzzes or lights up after a preset period – ensuring that the user leaves sufficient time to chew 32 times.

However, if you’re still looking for that elusive perfect gift, why not splash out on a pair of metal-detecting sandals. They attach to a black box that can be concealed under a long dress or trousers – so that nobody need know that you’re actually on the prowl for hidden treasure.

This year I hope to receive expensive diamonds, and the more the merrier. Memo to loved ones: I don’t want any of the above. But from everyone at Wrightstyle, have a very happy Christmas!