Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The 10 Greatest Consumer-Oriented Innovations Of All Time

C. Engdahl
The Big E of Big E Toys

Here’s a light-hearted look at what I’d consider the 10 Greatest Consumer-Oriented Innovations Of All Time.

10. Sliced Bread
Before sliced bread people had to eat a lot of buns or were forced to break bread. It was difficult to make a good sandwich. Sliced bread is the greatest thing since…well, I’m not really sure.

9. Wheel
It’s arguably the most ubiquitous innovation of all time. Used throughout history all over the world. Without the wheel, life would literally be a drag.

8. Microwave Oven
Since 1967 when the first personal microwave oven was introduced, countless cups of cold coffee have been saved from an untimely demise down the drain.

7. Television
In the 20th and 21st centuries, television has saved parents millions of dollars in babysitting costs.

6. Movable Type and The Printing Press
Without movable type and the printing press we wouldn’t have an older literate generation that complains about the kids today who aren’t learning anything because of the internet.

5. Beer
Although I can’t quantify this statement, and despite intoxication perhaps being responsible for as many bad ideas as good, I have to believe some of the greatest (if not simply creative) ideas throughout history have been formulated in a tipsy state.

4. Dentures
Dentures have allowed generations of people to avoid brushing their teeth. They’ve also provided ongoing amusement to denture wearers by allowing them to freak out grandchildren when they pop their dentures in and out of their mouths.

3. Pop Rocks
If I was forced to choose a single candy or candy bar to eat for the rest of my life, pop rocks wouldn’t actually be my choice. That being said, I still marvel at the ability to create a sweet candy explosion in my mouth. There’s nothing quite like the smiles that ensue when the rocks start popping (or the crying that starts when a dad – who shall remain nameless – puts Pop Rocks into the mouth of his unsuspecting then three year old son to see how the kid would react. Dad found it amusing. The son not so much.)

2. Refrigerator
The refrigerator is the primary reason so many people are able to kick back and enjoy a cold beer while dreaming up the next great idea.

1. Toilet Paper
I know not everyone throughout the world has access to this sanitary marvel, which makes me especially thankful to have it. I don’t like imagining my life without it.

I must admit I’m rethinking the inclusion of Sliced Bread on this list. For it has arguably actually led to the downfall of civilization. It has contributed to our inability to simply get along with one another on a global level. No one ever says for instance “let us slice bread together.”

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