Product Origins

Tales about how a variety of products came to be invented or discovered.

Behind some of the most seemingly mundane products lie some pretty good stories about how they came to be.

  White bullet Potato chips resulted from a cook's moment of pique.

  Green bullet Kotex were first manufactured as bandages during World War I.

  Red bullet The brassiere was invented by Otto Titzling.

  Green bullet Ivory Soap got its "float" from a manufacturing mistake.

  Green bullet A "worthless" glue that wouldn't stay stuck resulted in Post-it Notes.

  Green bullet The mother of former Monkee Mike Nesmith invented Liquid Paper.*

  Green bullet The shopping cart was not a resounding success when first introduced.

  Green bullet The rounded raised markers used to enhance lane markings on California highways, Botts' Dots, were named for their inventor.

  Red bullet Champagne glasses were modeled on Marie Antoinette's breasts.

  Red bullet Cabbage Patch dolls were designed to look like survivors of a nuclear holocaust.

  Green bullet Graham crackers were named for a man who believed that unhealthy diets led to sexual excess.*

  Multi-colored bullet E-mail lists valuable technological innovations brought about by African-American inventors.

  Green bullet McDonald's did away with its spoon-shaped coffee stirrers because people were using them as cocaine spoons.

  Yellow bullet The stethoscope was invented thanks to a doctor's modesty.

  Multi-colored bullet The idea for FedEx earned that company's founder a failing mark while he was college student.

  Green bullet Play-Doh started out as a wallpaper cleaner.

* Entries marked with an asterisk will display in a separate browser window.

founded in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.