- INVENTIONS - Fun Facts | BoysJoys


  1. A workman who left the soap mixing machine on too long was responsible for making Ivory Soap. He was so embarrassed by his mistake that he threw the mess in a stream. Imagine his dismay when the evidence of his error floated to the surface! Result: Ivory soap, the soap that floats.

  2. The Band-Aid® Bandage was invented by a Johnson & Johnson employee whose wife had cut herself. Earl Dickson’s wife was rather accident prone, so he set out to develop a bandage that she could apply without help. He placed a small piece of gauze in the center of a small piece of surgical tape, and what we know today as the Band-Aid bandage was born!

  3. The inventor of the World Wide Web, British-born Tim Berners-Lee, never made money on his invention, which revolutionized the computer world. In 1989 he envisioned a way to link documents on the Internet using “hypertext” so “surfers” could jump from one document to another through highlighted words. Berners-Lee decided not to patent his technology since he feared that, if he did patent it, use of the Web would be too expensive and would therefore not become used worldwide. He therefore passed up a fortune so the world could learn and communicate.

  4. Robert Adler has the dubious distinction of being the Father of the Couch Potato? Back in 1955 Adler was employed by what was then Zenith Radio Corp., where he was charged to invent something that would allow viewers to turn down the TV volume without leaving their chairs. After a series of flops (such as a wired contraption that people tripped over), Adler hit on the idea of using sound waves. Thus the Remote Control was born . . . and some viewers haven’t moved since!

  5. In 1879 Auguste Bartholdi received a design patent for the Statue of Liberty.

  6. Galileo invented the thermometer in 1593.

  7. The first ballpoint pen was invented by Hungarian journalist Lasalo Biro and his chemist brother, Georg, in 1938.

  8. Power steering was invented by independent inventor Francis W. Davis. As chief engineer in the 1920s of the truck division of the Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company, he saw how hard it was to steer heavy vehicles. So that he would be able to keep the profits from his future invention, Davis left his job, rented a small engineering shop in Waltham, Mass., and developed a hydraulic power steering system that led to power steering.

  9. It was melting ice cream that inspired the invention of the outboard motor. It was a lovely August day and Ole Evinrude was rowing his boat to his favorite island picnic spot. As he rowed, he watched his ice cream melt and wished he had a faster way to get to the island. At that moment the idea for the outboard motor was born!

  10. Two musicians were responsible for the invention of color print film. Fascinated by photography, Leopold Godowsky and Leopold Mannes worked together to produce an easy-to-use, practical color film. They worked full time as music teachers and gave concerts while experimenting during their off hours in Mannes’ kitchen. Their success earned them full-time, well-paying jobs at Kodak and their efforts resulted in Kodachrome film, which was introduced in 1935.

  11. The telescope was accidentally discovered in 1698 when Dutch eye glass maker Hans Lippershey looked through two lenses – one held in front of the other – and realized that the image was magnified.

  12. One person who claimed to be the inventor of the television is Russian emigre Vladimir Zworykin? In 1929 David Sarnoff, founder of RCA, asked Zworykin what it would take to develop TV for commercial use. He said: a year and a half and $100,000. In reality, it took 20 years and $50 million! Before his death in 1982 at the age of 92, Zworykin said of his invention: “The technique is wonderful. It is beyond my expectations. But the programs! I would never let my children even come close to this thing.”

  13. The formulas for Cola-Cola and Silly Putty have never been patented. These trade secrets are shared only with selected trustworthy company employees, and while there have been many attempts to duplicate these products, so far, no one has been successful.

  14. Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals because he hated wearing two pairs of glasses.

  15. Several people are credited with the invention of the flush toilet? Most people have heard of Thomas Crapper (1837-1910), the sanitary engineer who invented the valve-and-siphon arrangement that made the modern toilet possible. Another claimant to “the throne” was British inventor Alexander Cumming who patented a toilet in 1775. Then there’s a nameless Minoan (a native of ancient Crete) who lived 4,000 years ago who supposedly was ahead of his time and created the first flush toilet!

  16. After Parker Brothers executives turned down the game of Monopoly because it had “52 fundamental errors” (including taking too long to play), a copy of the game wound up in the home of the company president who stayed up until 1 a.m. to finish playing it? He was so impressed by the game that the next day he wrote to inventor Charles Darrow and offered to buy it!

  17. The first rickshaw was invented in 1869 by an American Baptist minister, the Rev. E. Jonathan Scobie, to transport his invalid wife around the streets of Yokohama?

  18. To encourage use of his new invention, the shopping cart, market owner Sylvan Goldman hired fake shoppers to push the carts around his store in Oklahoma City. Seems his customers were reluctant to give up their hand-carried baskets.

  19. The trademarked name “Baby Ruth” was inspired by President Grover Cleveland’s daughter, Ruth, and not by Babe Ruth.

  20. J.B. Dunlop, one inventor of the pneumatic tire, was a veterinary surgeon.

  21. Thomas Edison’s patent application on his phonograph was approved by the Patent Office in just seven weeks. In contrast, if took Gordon Gould, the inventor of the laser, 30 years to obtain his patent – finally awarded in 1988!

  22. The first Apple computer was born in Steve Jobs’ parents’ garage. College students Jobs and his partner Steve Wozniak worked furiously in that garage assembling computers for fellow students and were totally unprepared for their first commercial order for 50 computers. To raise the needed $1300 for parts, Jobs sold his old VW bus and Wozniak sold his Hewlett Packard calculator. The next year – 1977 – Apple sales hit $800,000 and went on to become a Fortune 500 company in a record five years!

  23. “Patent Leather” got its name because the process of applying the polished black finish to leather was once patented.

  24. In 1894, Lord Kelvin predicted that radio had no future; he also predicted that heavier-than-air flying machines were impossible.

  25. The word “sneaker” was coined by Henry McKinney, an advertising agent for N.W. Ayer & Son.

  26. Charles Macintosh invented the waterproof coat, the Mackintosh, in 1823.

  27. Air-filled tyres were used on bicycles before they were used on motorcars.

  28. The paperclip was invented by Norwegian Johann Vaaler.

  29. Music was sent down a telephone line for the first time in 1876, the year the phone was invented.

  30. Optical fiber was invented in 1966 by two British scientists called Charles Kao and George Hockham working for the British company Standard Telecommunication.

  31. Joseph Niepce developed the world’s first photographic image in 1827.

  32. The videophone was invented by Bell Laboratories in 1927.

  33. The very first projection of an image on a screen was made by a German priest. In 1646, Athanasius Kircher used a candle or oil lamp to project hand-painted images onto a white screen. Modern projectors emit more than a thousand Lumens!

  34. The first neon sign was made in 1923 for a Packard dealership.

  35. The first vending machine was invented by Hero of Alexandria in the first century. When a coin was dropped into a slot, its weight would pull a cork out of a spigot and the machine would dispense a trickle of holy water.

  36. The can opener was invented 48 years after cans were introduced.

  37. The hair perm was invented in 1906 by Karl Ludwig Nessler of Germany.

  38. Leonardo da Vinci never built the inventions he designed.

  39. Traffic lights were used before the advent of the motorcar.

  40. The Monopoly game was invented by Charles Darrow in 1933. He sold the rights to George Parker in 1935, then aged 58. Parker invented more than 100 games, including Pit, Rook, Flinch, Risk and Clue.

  41. One hour before Alexander Graham Bell registered his patent for the telephone in 1876, Elisha Gray patented his design. After years of litigation, the patent went to Bell.

  42. Thomas Edison filed 1,093 patents, including those for the light bulb, electric railways and the movie camera. When he died in 1931, he held 34 patents for the telephone, 141 for batteries, 150 for the telegraph and 389 patents for electric light and power.

  43. The first fax process was patented in 1843.

  44. Count Alessandro Volta invented the first battery in the 18th century.

  45. During the 1860s, George Leclanche developed the dry-cell battery, the basis for modern batteries.

  46. In 1894 Thomas Edison and W K L Dickson introduced the first film camera.

  47. In 1895 French brothers Auguste and Louis Lumiere demonstrated a projector system in Paris. In 1907 they screened the first public movie.

  48. The first electronic mail, or “email”, was sent in 1972 by Ray Tomlinson. It was also his idea to use the @ sign to separate the name of the user from the name of the computer.

  49. Queen Elizabeth of Britain sent her first email in 1976.

  50. In 1889, Kansas undertaker Almon B. Strowger wanted to prevent telephone operators from advising his rivals of the death of local citizens. So he invented the automatic exchange.