The simplest ideas are often the best. In addition, they can bring tons of money. Remember the “Slinky”, also known as the stair carpet, who would have thought that a simple metal spring as a toy would be so popular? Or even easier, the Frisbee, a simple round plastic disk. The following ten simple ideas are all “accidentally” invented and the inventors are making millions from it.
Walter Frederick Morrison invented the Frisbee in 1948. He got the idea when he and his girlfriend tossed a lid of a tin of popcorn to pass the time. He called his product the “flying-saucer” and later the “Pluto Platter”. In 1957, the idea was bought by Wham-O who put the product on the market in 1958 as the Frisbee. The name is a reference to the bakery “Frisbee Pie”. The aluminum cake pans of this store were used by students to frisbee. The inventor of the Frisbee had half a million dollars in royalties in 1970. In 2012, more than 300 million Frisbees were sold worldwide.
The Hula Hoop was developed by “Wham-O”. Someone in Australia had seen children playing with hoops of bamboo. In two years it sold more than 100 million Hula hoop.
The invention of the famous yellow Post-it was a stroke of luck. Researcher Dr. Spence Silver developed the special adhesive that sticks, but also releases easily. The aim of the research was, however, to create a very strong adhesive, and the invention was therefore not used. Art Fry, another employee at 3M, frustrated by the constant bookmarks that fell from his choir book. He had a ‘eureka’ moment and came up with the idea to use the Post-it. A reliable bookmark with Dr. Silvers glue. In the first year (1974), it directly earned $2 million and in 2012 already earned more than $ 1 billion.
The Band-Aid, or the patch, was invented in 1920 by Earle Dickson, a researcher at Johnson & Johnson. His wife Josephine cut herself regularly while cooking. He devised a way to cover the wound without assistance. The first patches were handmade and not very successful. They then began to sell sterilized Band-Aids produced by the company. During WWII, the Band-aids were popular. In 2001 there were already more than 100 billion Band-Aids sold worldwide!
The Slinky, known in the Netherlands as “stair carpet”, was invented in 1943 by naval engineer Richard James when he dropped a tension spring on the ground. The spring happily hopped up and down as James came up with the idea of one of the most popular toys. The first 400 stair runners sold just before Christmas of 1945, and were sold out within no time. In 2012 there were more than 250 million Slinky’s sold.
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
The company Kellogg’s is a multinational. They are the world’s number one producer of cereals, and they sell their products in more than 180 countries. In 1894, brothers Dr. John and Will Kellogg forgot a pot of boiled wheat for a few days on the stove. Although the wheat was dehydrated, they decided not to throw it away. To their surprise, it was not long slices of dough, but flakes. These flakes were then toasted, and fed to patients.
Three friends actually developed Crocs in 2002 as a shoe for the sauna. They would not have predicted that the shoe would be mega hype. In 2011, it achieved a turnover of more than $ 1 billion annually. Crocs are sold in more than 90 countries.
The Swiss Georges de Mestral invented Velcro. In 1941, after a walk with his his dog he wanted to know why the burr (the plant seed-sacs that cling to animal fur in order to travel to fertile new planting grounds.) stuck to his pants. Under the microscope, he discovered that the burrs have small hooks with which they hook into the tiny loops in the fabric of his pants. He will immediately see the possibilities, and developed Velcro. In 1998, he made $ 93 million. In 2012, Velcro sold in over 40 countries.
The Smiley has raised millions, but the money has not gone to the creator Harvey Ball. He has never gotten the smiley trademarked and received only $45. The millions went to the brothers Bernard and Murray Spain, between 1970 and 1972 they sold over 50 million knickknack’s smileys. They have an estimated $500 million net worth.
“SPANX, body-slimming fashion that brings together comfort and shaping”. Sara Blakely invented SPANX in 1998 when her tight pants did not sit well with regular underwear. She cut the bottom of some tights and wore it under her tight white pants. Thanks to this solution, women never have “Grid Butt”. She started her business with just $5000. In 2012, the company was worth more than $ 1 billion. Spanx is currently sold in over 40 countries.