Every day people pick up a product and say, “I wish I’d thought of that.” There are several items people come into contact with daily that were created either by accident or meant to be used for another purpose.
It just goes to show that even the most mundane items can make their inventors millions.
Visit nearly any office and you will find a “sticky note” somewhere. Post-it notes started out as an experiment to develop a new type of strong adhesive. Instead, Dr. Spencer Silver of 3M created a reusable pressure sensitive adhesive. Later, a product development researcher took one of the papers and used it as a bookmark. Voila, the Post-it note was born. Launched in 1977, 3M earned over $2 million dollars on their new product. In 2013, the perennial office favorite is available in a variety of shapes, colors and even fragrances. Sales now top $1 billion annually and are sold in over 100 countries.
If you’ve ever bought a coffee to go, you’ve probably used one of those cardboard sleeves to hold your cup to protect your hands from the steaming contents of your cup.
That’s a java jacket. In 1991, Jay Sorenson accidentally spilled a cup of steaming hot coffee in his lap while driving because the cup was too hot to hold. Rather than sue, he set to work to invent something to prevent this from happening to others. By 1993, Sorenson had secured $20,000 in funding and discovered that rather than insulating the cup, creating an insulating sleeve was the key to success. He started Java Jacket, Inc. and by 2001 had sold over 250 million sleeves and made over $8 million dollars. Starbucks wanted exclusive rights to the java jacket, but Sorenson successfully managed to protect his idea.
The favorite tool of every man, Duct Tape, is another 3M invention. The Army requested a tape that was both waterproof and strong enough to hold equipment together until it could reach a repair depot. It later earned the nickname “Duck tape” because of its waterproof qualities. Since 1965, Duct tape has been on every NASA space mission. Today it is found in nearly every home and is used as both a repair and craft item.
Source: Accounting Degree Guide