Bizarre Microsoft patent: Clear box that's a reading stand and book holder

Holder For Storing And Supporting Articles - Abstract

One of Microsoft's earliest US patents had nothing to do with computer software or hardware. These drawings show a reading stand and book holder that Microsoft got a patent for in 1986.

U.S. Patent number: 4,588,074
Filed: Mar. 21, 1985
Issued: May 13, 1986
Inventor: David W. Strong, et al.
Assignee: Microsoft Corporation

In 1985, a group of people from Microsoft designed a box that would act as both a case and reading surface for books and magazines. The inventors included David Strong, Patricia McGinnis, James Peterson, Vern Raburn, Horothy Hall, David Fleck, and Steven Ballmer.

The patent describes the devices as "a holder for books and similar items that may be used to both store the books and support them in open position at a fixed angle, even if the books are substantially shorter and narrower than the holder."

Image taken from U.S. Patent 4,588,074 - Digitized by Google

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the ...