Category: Time Tested

Game-Changing Feud

In a creepy launch commercial for PlayStation’s American debut on Sept. 9, 1995, a dark, menacing voice challenged the public: “You are not ready.” But in the wake of a brief, tumultuous partnership between Nintendo and Sony several years earlier that led to this new gaming frontier, was anybody ready?

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A Tale of Twists

In 1932, Thompson applied for the patent rights on a “Screw” (U.S. Patent No. 1,908,080) with a “cruciform groove” and a matching “Screw driver” (U.S. Patent No. 1,908,081). He is still listed as the inventor on both applications, both of which were granted the following year. But Thompson’s attempts to sell his design to screw manufacturers yielded frustrating results. 

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Campy Pioneer

The Clapper was an early home automation innovation almost a half-century ago. Just plug it into any standard wall outlet and clap twice to turn a lamp on or off. Clap three times to turn off the TV.

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Sticking Around

After years of research on how to make a kind of synthetic burr, de Mestral came up with the idea of two strips of fabric: one with thousands of tiny hooks, another with thousands of tiny loops that would attach to the hooks.

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Pop Went the Myth

When a General Foods chemist began his experiments in 1956, even his runaway imagination could not fathom that two decades later he would go on speaking tours to assure parents that his accidental invention—a candy marketed as Pop Rocks—would not hurt or kill their kids. 

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Ringing the Bell

Faced with pilfered profits, saloon owner James Ritty invented the mechanical cash register. He was inspired by the automatic mechanism that recorded the revolutions of a ship’s propeller.

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Tops of the Flops

The anticipation of failure and having a healthy attitude about it are essential traits for anyone trying to bring a new idea or product to the masses. However, it’s true that some inventing failures get added notoriety—whether due to their unconventional nature, excess hype, or number of dollars invested.

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Slow Path

It took 31 years of planning and constructing before Sicard finalized his concept and became the generally acknowledged inventor of the first commercial snowblower in 1925.

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