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Why Didn't I Think of That?: Bizarre Origins of Ingenious Inventions We Couldn't Live Without

Why Didn't I Think of That?: Bizarre Origins of Ingenious Inventions We Couldn't Live Without

Allyn Freeman, Bob Golden

ISBN: 978-0-471-16511-8 September 1997 256 Pages


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Ben & Jerry originally wanted to start a bagel business, but they couldn't afford the bagel-making machine?
* The Slinky(r) toy was born aboard a World War II battleship?
* Band-Aids(r) were invented by a husband to help his accident-prone wife dress her own cuts and bruises at home?
* The idea for Velcro(r) came from cockleburs that got stuck on an engineer's wool trousers and in his dog's fur?

Ever wonder how anyone came up with the idea for a product you couldn't imagine living without? Familiar products like Velcro(r) ,disposable diapers, Post-It Notes(r) ,and coffee filters. Read this book and you'll discover - once more - that truth is indeed often stranger than fiction. You'll also see that coming up with a million-dollar idea isn't as difficult as you think. This collection of entrepreneurs ranges from housewives to PhDs.

Filled with wacky and fascinating facts, awe-inspiring success statistics, and rags-to-riches stories, Why Didn't I Think of That? chronicles the odd origins behind 50 famous inventions and reveals the business side of each product's actual production, marketing, and distribution. You'll discover how inventors from all walks of life struck it rich with unlikely contraptions that range from the practical (like Tampax(r) and Tupperware(r) ) to the curiously inane (like the Barbie(r) doll and Silly Putty(r) ).

Inspirational, detailed, and always quirky, this delightful book captures all of the drama and colorful history of products like Heinz(r) ketchup, The Club(r) , Jell-O(r) ,Hallmark(r) cards, Trojan(r) condoms, Vaseline(r) , Rollerblades(r) , Kitty Litter(r) , the Swiss Army(r) Knife, Bic(r) pens, Dirt Devil(r) , Pampers(r) , S.O.S(r) pads, and many more.

Introduction ix

1 Grounds For Success 1
Melitta, Inc

2 World on a String 5
Duncan Yo-Yo

3 Party Time! 10

4 Nature’s Purifier 16

5 Male-Bonding 20
Elmer’s All-Purpose Glue

6 $afe $ex 25
Trojan Condoms

7 Big Red 31
Heinz Ketchup

8 Make No Mistake 36
Liquid Paper

9 Tabby Toilet 41
Kitty Litter

10 A Peaceful Period 46

11 The Wright Stuff 51
Silly Putty

12 Medical Coverage 56

13 In the Cards 60
Hallmark, Inc.

14 Indoor Ski Sensation 65

15 Thou Shalt Not Steal 70
The Club

16 The Cutting Edge 74
Cuisinart, Inc.

17 Wonder Jelly 78

18 Silence Is Golden 83

19 Mini Master Builders 87

20 Let the Games Begin 91
Trivial Pursuit

21 In-Jean-ious 95
Levi Strauss & Company

22 Get a Grip 99

23 Wheels of Fortune 104
Rollerblades, Inc.

24 Clean Sweep 109
The Dirt Devil

25 Billion Dollar Dolly 113

26 Lovin’ Spoonful 117

27 Pen Pal 122

28 The Color of Money 126

29 Some Like it Hot 131
Tabasco Sauce

30 Spring Fever 136

31 Running Hot and Cold 141

32 Little Vittles 146

33 Stock Stuffer 151

34 In the Chips 156
Frito Lay

35 Bottoms Up 162

36 Easy Listening 167

37 Pads of Glory 172

38 The Yellow Pages 176

39 Little Dipper 180
Dixie Cups

40 House of Wax 185

41 The Candy Man 190
Tootsie Roll

42 A Stitch in Time 194
Singer Sewing Machine

43 Home Cooking 199
Boston Market

44 Current Success 203

45 The Chairmen 207

46 Morning Star 211
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes

47 Slice of Life 216
Swiss Army Knife

48 Hill of Beans 220

49 The Bill Chill 225
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

50 Pocket Book 231

Acknowledgments 235

Bibliography 237

Index 239