Browsing: Inventions

A Brief History On March 5, 1836, Samuel Colt formed the gun-manufacturing company that would produce the pistols “that won the West.”  We have already written about Mr. Colt and his innovative and successful revolver, but this time around, we are going to discuss the problems with it. Digging Deeper Colt created his invention when percussion caps were replacing flintlock ignition systems, and the percussion cap is what made a revolving cylinder firearm practical.  When relying on flintlock ignition, powder could easily fall out of the individual pan or chain fire, with all cylinders going off at once.  (This could…

A Brief History On January 31, 1930 the 3M Company (then going by the name of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing) revealed Scotch Tape.  This product, consisting of clear cellophane tape with a pressure-sensitive adhesive on one side, would become a household and office necessity. Digging Deeper 3M has since ridden the success of Scotch Tape to produce many products bearing the Scotch brand that have nothing to do with the original product, one example being the stain repellent Scotchguard.  3M first began advertising with the familiar tartan plaid (Wallace type) in 1945.  Today, many manufacturers produce adhesive tape, but most folks generically call these products “Scotch Tape” as well.  (Same as the Kleenex phenomenon.)  Pressure-sensitive…

A Brief History On November 23, 1992, society took another giant step forward with the introduction of the IBM Simon Personal Communicator, the world’s first “smart phone.”   In 1994 and 1995, IBM sold 50,000 of these handheld mobile devices that combined a touchscreen cellular phone with a personal digital assistant (PDA). Digging Deeper Are you too young to remember a time without cell phones?  If you are, then this will not seem like such a big deal, but in reality, the first smart phone was an enormous leap toward what is so common today that it is taken for granted.  Like many so-called…

A Brief History On November 16, 1938, the psychedelic drug Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) that has since become known as “acid” was first synthesized by the Swiss chemist Albert Hofman (not to be confused with Abbie Hoffman, the social radical).  You probably did not have any idea when, where and by whom LSD was invented, and to be honest, neither did the author. In fact, sometimes who exactly invented something is a matter of dispute.  Here 9 more such inventors whose names are generally not common knowledge to the masses are listed.  Who would you add to the list? Digging Deeper 9.…

A Brief History On September 4, 1957, the Ford Motor Company introduced its latest product, the Edsel.  Named after founder Henry Ford’s son, the Edsel was supposed to be an upscale mass-market car and vital part of Ford’s marketing plan.  It turned out to be a flop, and has since become synonymous with the word “failure.”  The ugliness of the car did not hurt or kill anyone, but some do products end up being fatal.  Here 10 products that for a variety of reasons have become infamous, notorious and reviled are listed.  A previous article already covered Zyklon B and DDT.  What other products would you add to the list?…

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