Bertha Benz successfully marketed her husband’s invention, the motor car, when she took it for a 65 mile trip, overcoming mechanical problems and inventing brake shoes on the way, and proving that cars were suitable for long journeys. Her trip gained attention, resulting in Benz’s first sale.
The process of dry cleaning was invented in 1821 by an African American business owner named Thomas Jennings. He was one of the first African Americans to be granted a patent. He had to use the proceeds from his invention to buy his wife and children out of slavery.
Charles Darwin was one of the first people to come up with the idea of putting wheels on his office chair, so that he could work faster.
The name “Scotch Tape” was used as an insult to the inventor while he was inventing Masking Tape. ‘Scotch’ being derogatory slang for cheap or thrifty. He then went on to create Scotch Tape, and the name stuck.
One evening, while rushing for dinner after a long day at the lab, Constantin Fahlberg, a chemist at Johns Hopkins, forgot to wash his hands that had traces of benzoic sulfimide. This compound made his dinner taste sweet, and that’s how he discovered the artificial sweetener Saccharin.
The conservationist, John Muir, was an avid inventor. He hooked up an alarm clock to his custom bed that would throw him onto the floor to ensure he got up on time.
In 1931 it would take workers three days to unload 13,000 cases of unpalletized canned goods off a ship. With pallets, this same task took four hours.
Even though Benjamin Franklin is credited with many popular inventions, he never patented or copyrighted any of them. He believed that they should be given freely and that claiming ownership would only cause trouble and “sour one’s Temper and disturb one’s Quiet.”
In 1945, a school dropout and self-taught electrical engineer named Percy Spencer was working at Ratheon. He stepped in front of a magnetron, a device that powers radars. He noticed a chocolate bar in his pocket had melted. Later that year, he filed a patent for the first microwave oven.
Modern cruise control was developed by an engineer frustrated by his lawyer who kept speeding up and slowing down the car as he talked.