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My son has a novelty liquid soap dispenser, where the outer shell had ducks floating on a blue sea.
When it is swirled, the sea splashes about in a choppliy realistic action. (I imagine the "sea" is actually dyed water, while the "air" is clear oil.)
I have never seen this done in a snow globe,
so I suggest that is what we do. Then we can experiment with plastics to come up with miniature ships that are just buoyant enough to float when the globe is shaken but sink back down when the seas subside (or possibly vice versa, if the effect is better), so we can include famous shipwrecks.
Themes could include the Titanic (complete with floating icebergs), the Andrea Doria, the Lusitania and its U-boat nemesis, Free Willy, Three Men in a Tub, etc.
Tempest in a Bottle
[reensure, Feb 16 2006]
||In all seriousness, I doubt there is any value in patenting a low cost novelty item like this - there are so many me-too manufacturers out in Asia who pay no attention to patents that it would be cost-prohibitive to enforce. I refer you to the people who patented icicle Christmas lights.
||Or one could use pululluluan.
||Instead of patenting it, why not be the first guy to chat to the Chinese and ask them to make some for you. From what I understand, you wouldn't need a huge sum of money to make a short run of a few thousand. You'll make a bob or two approaching Christmas, or maybe I will.