Inventions are the ultimate result of successful problem-solving.
But how on earth did people come up with the first ideas for luxuries (and now necessities) as disposable diapers, the dishwasher, the cell phone, and blue jeans?
Recently I have been asked to speak on this topic to various audiences, including the Larchmont (NY) Historical Society. The Society was kind enough to arrange to have the presentation recorded so I can share it with readers.
In the speech, entitled “From the Can Opener to Blue Jeans: Stories of Ingenious American Inventions,” I outline how certain items came to be. For example, competition to invent the first cell phone was high between two different laboratories, both inching toward the final product. In my remarks I tell a very good story about how Motorola notified Bell Labs that they had beaten them to the final step. The story is also explained here.
In contrast, an item like the disposable diaper was created by one mom working at home on the project. Marion Donovan was a young mother in Connecticut who became convinced that when it came to diapers, there had to be a better way that the constant series of laundry she was currently doing for her babies. First, she invented the diaper cover, which sold very well, so next she went on to create a fully disposable diaper. Parenting was forever changed. Continue reading