In July 1979, Horace A. Knowles applied for a patent for a “novelty toy which assists the user in twiddling his thumbs”:
Heretofore no equipment has been available to the thumb twiddler to assist him in the twiddling procedure. To those twiddlers who lack sufficient coordination, not only is the repose and peace of mind which thumb twiddling normally brings not available, but the inability to carry out the twiddling successfully, including the inadvertent bumping of the thumbs against one another during the twiddling motion, causes additional frustration.
Is this satire? I can’t tell, and neither could the Patent Office — they approved Knowles’ application the following year.