The rotary phone was invented by an undertaker. The operator in his hometown was married to his competition, so the rotary dial was a way to bypass the human operator.
Northern Paper Company offered the first splinter-free toilet paper in the early 1930s.
Starting in 1910, a series of books were published featuring a fictional boy-inventor by the name of Tom Swift. One of these books was titled “Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle.” Many years later, this led to the naming of the TASER that police now carry: “Tom A. Swift Electric Rifle”.
In 1898 Nikola Tesla once tricked an entire crowd into believing they could control a toy boat by shouting commands – he had in fact invented Radio Control and was piloting the boat himself.
The inventor of Vaseline was such a firm believer in its medicinal properties that he claimed to have eaten a spoonful of it a day; During a bout of pleurisy in his 50s, he ordered his nurse to cover him from head to toe in the substance, and soon recovered. He lived to be 94.
The inventor of the windshield wiper Mary Anderson was granted a patent for it in 1903, she tried to sell the rights in 1905 and was told that it held no commercial value and was unable to sell it. 19 years later, they became standard equipment on every vehicle.
A pollination technique invented by a 12 year old slave is the reason Vanilla is commonly available today.
The first streaming music service started in 1897. Users in New York could pick up their phones and connect to the Telharmonium, a central hub that would pipe music being played live by two musicians playing 24 hours a day.
The stethoscope was conceived because the inventor felt uncomfortable placing his ear on a woman’s bare chest to listen to her heart.
The T-shirt was invented in 1904 and marketed to bachelors who couldn’t sew or replace buttons.