The Evolution of the Carabiner

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Did you know that despite the carabiner being one of the most widely used and versatile gadgets around, it has had very little innovation since first invented in the early 1900s?  In fact, there have been only 50 patents filed with "carabiner" in the title (compare this to 4400 patents granted for mousetraps and 833 patents for kayaks).  This was shocking to me.  

The carabiner was originally developed for climbing purposes, but there is now a plethora of non-climbing carabiners that seem to come in every shape and color (holding water bottles, keys, bags, etc.).   Why has there been so little innovation in carabiners?  Is it that they are so perfectly designed that they need little improvement?  Or that the carabiner's form is so taken-for-granted that an improvement upon it isn't even considered?  

What do you think?  I personally can't speak about climbing carabiners as I have had limited experience with them, but I believe that there is definitely room for innovation in non-climbing carabiners (yes, starting with the qlipter).


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