The Bendy Straw
The first straws ever created were made by the Sumerians in around 3,000 B.C. and were used for drinking their own version of a beer (probably not a can of amber nectar). The straw was constructed so that they didn’t end up drinking all of the solid bits that were left over during the fermentation process. The real straw magic didn’t happen until 1937 though when Joseph Friedman, a maverick inventor from Cleveland, Ohio, created the bendy straw as we know it today. What a guy.
I don’t know about you, but for me, just about any time of the day is a good time for bacon. I would have it for breakfast, after breakfast snack, elevensies, pre-lunch snack, lunch… (You get the picture) if I could, but I can never be bothered to clean my grill tray or my frying pan enough times to satisfy my craving. Picture my face when I found out such thing as a bacon toaster has been invented. The Bacon Express™ can cook up 6 slices of bacon at a time with no washing up. HEAVEN.
Also known as finger socks and glove socks, Toe Socks were invented by Ethel Russell of Pennsylvania in 1969. They were super popular in the 70’s, you’d have found it hard not to spot someone on the street flexing their toes in a pair of these bad boys. They made a brief resurgence as a novelty gift in the 90’s and since then they have even been worn in space! The ever fashion conscious astronaut Sandra Magnus wore them whilst orbiting the earth on the International Space Station in 2011. I wonder what the betting odds would have been for that? To infinity and beyond.
Let’s face it, your Nan collected a fridge magnet in every place she ever went and they were scattered right across her fridge. She probably asked you to get her one if you went anywhere obscure she hadn’t ticked off the list yet (cheat!). Fridge magnets basically serve no purpose in life at all apart from to just be there and maybe hold up a rubbish drawing your kid did at school. But as a nation we love them, and buy them by the tonne, so they deserve their place on the list. Thanks nan.
Retractable click pen
During the 90’s children weren’t blessed with iPad’s, iPhone’s, Xboxes and PlayStation 4’s. What we did have though was a pen that could change colour with a click. This sounds like a simple concept but it revolutionised the way kids could do their work. They could be writing in blue and within a matter of micro seconds switch to orange ink, crazy huh? Kids nowadays won’t understand the struggle of trying to get two or three colours clicked at the same time. Legend is, it can be done.
No list of great inventions would ever be complete without one of the biggest flukes of all time. In 1956 Noah and Joseph McVicker were trying to develop a material that cleaned all of the coal residue from the wallpaper at the time. Joseph’s sister, a teacher, let her class use the stuff for modelling at school and Play-Doh was born. We all once contemplated eating our greatest creations in the multi-coloured stuff when we were young.