In 1908, German housewife Melitta Bentz was tired of ground coffee leftovers in her coffee cup. As a consequence, she invented the paper coffee filter, founded a company, and became the employer of her own husband, in a time when women weren’t even allowed to vote.
On November 10, 1903, Mary Anderson invented an automatic car window cleaning device controlled from within the car, called the “Windshield Wiper”.
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.
In 1821, Thomas Jennings became the first African-American to hold a patent. He invented ‘dry scouring’, a method for removing dirt and grease from clothing that would lead to today’s dry cleaning.
Vesta Stoudt, who had the idea for duct tape, couldnt get her bosses at a military ordnance plant to take her seriously. So she sent a letter to FDR who recommended it to the War Production Board where it was approved for use on ammo boxes.
During the beginning of invention of electric appliances, they experimented with electric tablecloths. You could basically plug in an outlet anywhere on the table and the lightbulb would light up. Only downside was that you couldn’t spill any liquids on it.
In 1898, Nikola Tesla tricked an entire crowd into believing they could control a boat by shouting commands – in fact he invented Radio Control and piloted the boat himself.
In the 1920’s newly hired engineers at General Electric would be told, as a joke, to develop a frosted lightbulb. The experienced engineers believed this to be impossible. In 1925, newly hired Marvin Pipkin got the assignment not realizing it was a joke and succeeded.