Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How did they think of that?

To save myself from Mushy Mom Brain, I felt the need to exercise it.  Since I'm not excercising my body at all, at least my mind can get a workout.   This is some of what I learned tonight, just a little useless trivia.

VELCRO was invented in 1948 by de Mestral when he was hiking.  He noticed burrs getting stuck to his fuzzy socks.  When he stopped to pull them off, instead of being annoyed, he thought it would be a brilliant idea to make the burrs small enough to hold together flaps of clothing.  It took 3 years for the invention to be perfected.  The name Velcro came from velvet (vel) and crochet (cro) that forms the "hooks" and "eyes" that make Velcro possible.

Gary Dahl was an out of work advertising executive in 1975.  He went out for a drink with friends and the topic came up about how hard and expensive it is to keep and train their pets.  He took pity on his friends and gave some rocks away as "maintenance-free pets".  His friends thought it was a real hoot so Dahl took his advertising experience and created a manual for PET ROCKS.  How easy is it to train a pet rock to roll over (with a gentle push), play dead (no assistance required) and to protect its owner (curled inside your fist).  Dahl was convinced this would work so he bought 3 tons of smooth rocks from Mexico and a month before Christmas, sold the rocks in small boxes with air holes.  He earned nearly a dollar for each rock sold and before the fad died out, he sold five million pet rocks.  Eventually, the rocks ended up with painted faces with expressions and sold Pet Rock food, which was rock salt.

WATER BEDS was inspired by beanbag chairs.  Charles Prior Hall created the crazy idea that a bean bag chair could be transformed into a bed.  After a few different experiments, he got a mattress, filled it with water but found that by morning, the mattress was too cold.  So he installed a heater to keep the mattress warmer throughout the night and introduced the water bed in 1971.  Thanks to a plug from Playboy Magazine, Hugh Hefner bought one for the mansion and it instantly became a trendsetter.  Not only did Hall enjoy the flood of sales of the water beds, but of the repair kits, too!

The very first VIDEO GAME was born in Cambridge, MA in January 1962.  Steve Russell created a dot that moved around the screen and within a few weeks, he transformed it into a crude triangular spaceship.  By February, there were 2 spaceships on the screen and a blast to destroy the other.  Peter Samson and Dan Edwards contributed stars and J. M. Graetz added a hyperspace button to allow one ship to get away from the other.  This game was known as Spacewar.  Pong was the very first video game that was introduced to the public by Nolan Bushnell.  You had to pay a quarter to play it.  Since this concept, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong were born and Bushnell was responsible for bringing the video game systems into homes and became a very rich man.

Australian school children played with bamboo hoops and South Seas islanders used grapevine hoops in dances used by the Ancient Greeks.  Wham-O executives didn't care who actually invented the HULA HOOP.  They knew a good toy when they saw one so they created a hula hoop with a durable plastic and lots of colors.  Manufacturing costs were only .25 cents to make and they sold for $1.98.  In 1958, every child owned a hula hoop and over 25 million were sold.  But sales dropped off very quickly because not only did colder weather hit, but every child already had one.  Later they added more psychedelic colors and noisy beads inside.

In the late 1950's, a Danish wood carver sculpted a white-haired troll for his daughter.  He based his design on the elves of Norse mythology.  When he gave the troll to his daughter, he said it would bring her good luck.  A shop owner noticed the little girl carrying the ugly doll and commissioned the wood carver to make more for his shop.  TROLL DOLLS became a craze in Denmark and in the early 1960's, American manufacturers licensed the good-luck dolls.  That's when the dolls changed a bit to have the crazy, bright colored hair, added details from diapers to motorcycles and created more characters that remained popular for over 30 years.

So, that's my useless reading for the night.  I love useless trivia.   Not that I will ever remember this information, but it sure is interesting to find out how things become as they are and who the masterminds were behind the idea.  Maybe I'll start something here and post more useless trivia as I find them.  In the meantime, enjoy some of my articles on my Yahoo! Contributor site.

Sally's Challenging Day

Do It Yourself Pedicure

10 Ways to Wear a Necklace

1 comment:

  1. i love trivia too (esp the useless stuff). thanks for stopping by!