So, you may know that Paul Winchell was a ventriloquist, actor, and comedian who hosted his own TV show, The Paul Winchell Show. I bet you also know he was the voice of Tigger,
Shun Gon in The Aristocats,
Boomer the woodpecker in The Fox and the Hound,
and Zummi Gummi in Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears.
But, did you know that Paul Winchell was an inventor with over 30 patents? Winchell’s patents include a disposable razor, blood plasma defroster, flameless cigarette lighter, “invisible” garter belt, fountain pen with a retractable tip, battery heated gloves, and an artificial heart. That’s right, he was the first person to build and patent an artificial heart that could be implanted into the chest cavity. The heart was created with the assistance of Dr. Henry Heimlich (the Heimlich Maneuver guy). Winchell’s heart was donated to the University of Utah, who developed a similar device around the same time, but discovered upon application for a patent, that the former heart was considered a “prior art.” Dr. Heimlich stated, “I saw the heart, I saw the patent and I saw the letters. The basic principle used in Winchell’s heart and Jarvik’s heart is exactly the same.”
I was unable to include a photo of the heart, but by following this link, Patent #3097366, you can see the patent for yourself.
And on a side note, Winchell’s daughter, April, became a Disney voice actress whose credits include: Mrs. Herman in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, many characters in Disney animated TV series from 1992 to the present, and is the current voice of Clarabelle the Cow.