April is National Inventor’s Month and it’s a great time to show appreciation for modern miracles. While not all inventions became popular items, or some were just the early pave way for a more technical, usable device, people have been creating amazing things since the dawn of time.
A nod to the lesser known
While we are familiar with the people behind major inventions – electricity, the telephone, the automobile, the airplane – there are so many inventors that have come and gone throughout the years, leaving their marks of brilliance in inventions, but their names have been forgotten. So let’s applaud the lesser known inventors whose creations are still used to this day.
It’s hard to imagine the time before the modern dishwasher. The first iteration of this machine was invented by Josephine Cochran in the shed of her Illinois home. Josephine was a wealthy woman, and with the help of her friend George Butter, they created a clunky machine that used water pressure to clean china quickly. This machine was introduced at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and was an instant hit. The modern dishwasher has come a long way – with soil sensors, adjustable racks, heated dry, special wash cycles and more.
Toilet paper rolls
Toilet paper has been around since 1391. It’s recorded that it was created for the needs of the Chinese Emperor family. Toilet paper was made in individual, loose sheets. In the late 15th century, toilet paper became widely available, but mass manufacturing of modern toilet paper didn’t begin until the 19th century. Even then, it was still flat, loose sheets of paper “medicated” with aloe. Until Seth Wheel of Albany, New York created the toilet paper roll for more convenience. It’s something so simple and every day, it’s really taken for granted!
Band-Aids were created in 1926 by Earle Dickson for his wife Josephine, who frequently cut and nicked herself. He created these strips of tape and gauze so she could heal faster. Josephine loved the Band-Aids and encouraged Earle to present the idea to his boss James Johnson – of Johnson & Johnson.
Pull-tab soda cans
Aluminum beverage cans used to not have an easy-open tab. This is a relatively new invention, believe it or not, but baby boomers will remember that before the pull-tab, you had to have a special can-piercer or churchkey in order to enjoy a cold, canned beverage. You would pierce a larger triangular hole into one side of the can for drinking and a small one on the opposite side for letting out air. It meant if you didn’t have a churchkey, no drink. Ermal C. Fraze encountered this problem at a family picnic when he had to instead use a car bumper to open a beer. He invented the pull-tab soda can in 1967 and today roughly 150 billion cans have this patented tab.
Celebrate this month by doing some research yourself
Hop onto a search engine and dig up some information on lesser known inventors. It will surprise you and maybe you’ll tap into your own entrepreneurial spirit. Maybe you have the next greatest idea! Most if not all inventions were finding a need and creating a solution or improving and adding more convenience to an existing item. Go for it! At VoiceNation, we love support entrepreneurs by empowering their business with live answering. Want to learn more? Give us a call! 877.679.3777