Inventions to be Thankful For

Every Thanksgiving you give thanks to all the things you are grateful for. This year Quirky wants to celebrate the simple everyday inventions that we are grateful to have been invented.

In 1888 John J. Loud created the first ballpoint point, such a simple invention but even in the age of technology is still the go to writing tool. The first pens sold in stores originally manufactured only 50,000 pens but sold over 30,000 in the first week. Today if someone tells you “I don’t use pens” you would think they were strange.

Think about life without the toothbrush, talking to people would be a lot less pleasant. The toothbrush has changed drastically since its original invention on 1498 AD in China made from boars hairs as bristles (Be Thankful). The version we are more familiar with was patent by the company Dupont de Nemours. Just goes to show, although something exists doesn’t mean you can’t make it better.

How about your headphones, you can’t leave home without them. Originally intended for telephone operators connecting to switchboards slowly became this ongoing phenomenon. The first audio in ear headphones created by Nathaniel Baldwin in 1910 were originally dismissed but ironically picked up by the US Navy. But using headphones for listening to music didn’t actually become popular until 1958 by Joss Koss creating the first stereo headphones from cardboard and sofa foam. This invention was created around the rise of Rock & Roll ( talk about timing!)  Most couldn’t imagine life without headphones above all, how else would you effortlessly ignore people this Thanksgiving?


Anyone has the ability to invent the next great invention that we will all look back and say “ How did I ever function without this?”

Happy Thanksgiving, Keep Inventing!

What We Should be Thankful for this Thanksgiving

We often talk about the inventions that have changed our lives for the better – and hey, they are pretty incredible, but what if instead of celebrating things, we celebrated the brilliant minds behind those inventions we love so much.

Take the microwave for example, invented in 1945 by a man named Percy Spencer. Spencer, who never finished grammar school, became a self-taught engineer and accidentally invented this magic heating machine when the technology he was testing cooked a candy bar in his pocket.

How about those disposable diapers, which have protected us from an undetermined number of blowouts. We have Marion Donovan to thank for this amazing idea. Most didn’t think her invention had any merit when she first pitched it in the early 1950’s, but Donovan didn’t give up on her cause. In 1961, she found someone who believed in her vision…and I think we all have heard of Pampers.

Great ideas come in all shapes and sizes. In 2012, fifth-grader Clara Lazen created a model for an undiscovered molecule, tetranitratoxycarbon. Her teacher recognized her brilliance and shared a picture of the model with a chemist. Now her idea is published in several scientific journals.

Everyone has an idea worth sharing and the potential to become the face behind the next big invention. As we gather around the table to give thanks, take a moment to appreciate the everyday creators and inventors both past and present.

Happy Thanksgiving!