50 Innovative Facts Behind Cool Inventions

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26 Filet o’ Fish

Filet o' Fish

The Filet o’ Fish was invented so Catholics could eat at McDonald’s on Fridays.

27. Martin Couney, an owner of a freak show in the early 1900s invented an incubator to exhibit premature babies. In doing so, he saved thousands of lives and marked the start of advanced prenatal care for preemies.

28. A German soldier named Artur Fischer survived Stalingrad on the last plane out. After the war, he went on to invent many ubiquitous items such as the synchronized camera flash and the plastic wall anchor and held over 1100 patents before dying at the age of 96.

29. Duct tape was invented by Vesta Stoudt, a factory worker during World War 2 and the mother of two sons in the Navy. When her supervisors at the factory dismissed her idea for a stronger cloth-based tape, she wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who then ordered Johnson&Johnson to manufacture her idea.

30. The gin and tonic were invented as a result of the British being unable to stomach the taste of bitter malaria medication in India.

31 Doritos


Doritos were originally Disneyland trash. In the early days of Disneyland, a restaurant named Casa de Fritos invented Doritos by repurposing stale tortillas they bought from a local vendor. The chips proved to be so popular they were eventually rolled out nationally by Frito-Lay in 1966.

32. The football huddle was invented at Gallaudet University, an all-deaf school, to prevent opposing teams from seeing their signs.

33. Scott Stillinger, the guy who invented the koosh ball, invented it because his own child was having trouble catching a ball.

34. Pad Thai, the national dish of Thailand, is actually not a traditional dish, but was invented, standardized, and promoted by the Thai government, and imposed upon the people, as part of a broad cultural effort to establish a sense of national identity.

35. Louis Braille was blinded as a boy when using an awl. At the age of 15, also using an awl, he invented a reading system for the blind. It was never adopted during his lifetime, but after his death, it grew to worldwide popularity and is now known as “braille.”

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36 Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell invented the metal detector to try and find the bullet lodged in President James Garfield. The device worked but had interference from the metal springs in the bed. The chief physician only allowed a search of the right side of the body. The bullet was on the left side.

37. The waterbed was invented in 1833 by a Scottish Physician. He intentionally did not patent it so that anyone could design their own variation of the waterbed and it could help as many people as it could who were suffering from bedsores.

38. Viagra was invented by accident. It was originally developed as a medication used for lowering high blood pressure. It failed to achieve this purpose and was discontinued. When test subjects were asked to return their unused medicine, however, they all refused.

39. Pythagoras invented a practical joke cup that would spill wine all over a person if they filled their cup too much.

40. The U-bend (P-trap without a 90-degree bend) used in toilets and sinks to prevent sewage gasses from entering the house was invented by a man named Thomas Crapper.

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41 Nutella


Nutella was invented during World War 2 when an Italian pastry maker mixed hazelnuts into chocolate to extend his chocolate ration.

42. Punchcards were invented to solve the problem of the 1890 US Census. It took 8 years to process the data of the 1880 census, so Herman Hollerith invented punch cards for tabulation, ushering in the era of data storage, databases, and supercomputers.

43. Sir Robert Watson-Watt, the inventor of RADAR was caught speeding with a RADAR gun and reportedly said, “‘My God if I’d known what they were going to do with it, I’d have never have invented it!”

44. The inventor of the black box only worked on it in secret, and it was originally rejected by the aviation community due to privacy concerns. Before theĀ invention, troubleshooting crashes was extremely difficult, and lessons learned from black boxes have improved airline safety significantly.

45. John Walker created the match by accident in 1826. He was scraping a mixture of dried chemicals off of a stick in his hearth and it caught fire. Against the advice of his friends, he did not patent his idea, leading to others greatly profiting off of his invention.

15 Most Controversial & Costly Blunders in History

46 Ramune


The Japanese carbonated soft drink Ramune was invented in 1884 by the Scottish pharmacist Alexander Cameron Sim. This drink became very popular with the local Japanese after it was advertised in the Tokyo Mainichi Newspaper as a preventative for cholera.

47. Harvey Ross Ball invented the yellow Smiley Face in 1963. It was intended to be morale-boosting for insurance companies. He was paid $45 for 10 minutes of work.

48. Ajay V. Bhatt, an Indian-born American computer architect who led the Intel team that invented the USB (Universal Serial Bus), regrets not making it reversible. It would have doubled the cost, which was a hard sell at the time, “but in hindsight, we blew it.” He holds 132 patents and counting.

49. The toothbrush was invented by William Addis, a prisoner in the 1770s who tied bristles to a leftover bone from his meal as an alternative to cleaning his teeth with a rag and soot.

50. Fruit punch was invented as an alternative to beer by men working for the British East India Company. This is because the beer on their ships went bad when they reached the Indian Ocean. They ended up using rum, fruit, and spices available in their new location to create fruit punch.

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