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Why Didn't I think Of That?

Updated on June 29, 2011
Those Great Ideas I Wish I Thought Of
Those Great Ideas I Wish I Thought Of

Why Didn't I Think Of That ! ! !

Have you ever wondered where the idea for little plastics umbrellas in your fruity drink came from? Is the guy who invented this a millionaire? Or, how about those little plastic things at the end of your shoes? Did someone just think that up and start making them? How do people think of this stuff? More importantly, how come I didn't come up with this? Well here are some other great and simple ideas I wish I thought of.

The Cocktail Umbrella

Millions of Drinks Worldwide come with a little umbrella.
Millions of Drinks Worldwide come with a little umbrella.

The Cocktail Umbrella

The cocktail umbrella is a small umbrella or parasol made from paper, cardboard or plastic used as a decoration in cocktails, desserts or other foods and beverages. The Cocktail Umbrella is believed to have arrived on the bar scene around 1932 courtesy of Victor Bergeron of Trader Vic's in San Francisco. However, Vic himself admitted that he got the idea from the Don the Beachcomber restaurant which had pioneered Polynesian-Style dining. Vic himself only served drinks with umbrellas until the 1940s when importing them from the far east became difficult because of the outbreak of World War II.

Regardless, it appears that the Cocktail Umbrella was brought over from the Far East. Therefore, its history is a bit murkey. So no "guy" invented it that made it rich, at least not that we know of. Well, still wish I came up with it. 

Millions of these handy things are sold worldwide
Millions of these handy things are sold worldwide
Post Its Have Many Uses:  Check Out The Post It Artwork
Post Its Have Many Uses: Check Out The Post It Artwork

Great Moments in Post It Note History

The Post It

Think about it, how often do you use a post it? I use them all the time. I write down notes for work, grocery lists, phone numbers, account numbers and anything else I need to remember. I have hundreds sitting on my desk and more in my drawer. I also use post it flags all the time as well.

What a great idea. The post it note was apparently invented by mistake. A man named Spencer Silver was at work  at 3M research laboratories in the late sixties. Silver was attempting to create a strong adhesive. Instead, Silver created a new adhesive but it was weaker than the one 3M already manufactured. However, it did stick to objects but could easily be removed.

Nobody knew what to do with this weak adhesive. Silver stored it away for future use. In 1974, another 3M scientist named Arthur Fry was singing in his church choir. He used markers to keep his place in the hymnal but they kept falling out. Remembering Silver's adhesive, Fry coated his markers to keep them in place and it worked. Better yet, the adhesive stayed in place but could be removed without destroying the page.

3M began distributing Post-it ® Notes in 1977. Nobody cared. 3M then sent free samples to people and polls showed that those who had used them really liked them. In 1980, 3M began full distribution. Until the early 1990s, 3M was the only company to produce the Post-it ® Notes because of patent laws. They were all produced at 3M's production plant in Cynthiana, Kentucky. So again, no "guy" invented this on his own.  Instead, two guys invented it and their employer made all the money.  Still wish I would have thought of it first.

From Scrubs

The Cover Of OutKast's Hey Ya

I know, it appears a little off topic. I was watching the television show Scrubs the other night and this song came on that I thought sounded oddly familiar but couldn't quite put my finger on. Then I realized it was OutKast's 2003 hit song, Hey Ya, only it was an acoustic version. After listening to it I said, "Why didn't I think of that." It is just brilliant. So I jumped onto YouTube and found out that there are many covers of this song.

One of the first covers of the song was done by Razorlight, who performed the song with the Londson Community Gospel Choir. There is also a country version, performed by TheBoss Hoss and there is a punk rock version by Pennywise. Rock & Roll band The Supersuckers also recorded a version.

In 2006, Mat Weddle, the frontman of an unsigned folk band, performed an acoustic version of Hey Ya at an open mike and a friend posted it on YouTube. The video was soon viewed by over a million people.

It was Weddle's version that inspired the Scrubs version which was performed by Sam Lloyd, who plays Ted Buckland, the hospital lawyer.

So why didn't I think of that? My wife put it all too bluntly: She said, "Well, you don't play guitar and you can't sing."  Ouch.


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    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Fair point ruff

    • profile image


      7 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      Many inventions never made a dime for the people who came up with them.

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Sacramento, California

      That is a good one golden.

    • goldentoad profile image


      9 years ago from Free and running....

      I think the coffee stirrer has to be greatest fluke invention ever

    • fortunerep profile image


      9 years ago from North Carolina

      I have said the same thing!

    • marcofratelli profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

      Yep, ideas like those could have made me a lot of money if I'd thought of them. It would be great to invent something or come up with an idea and have it turn into the latest craze.


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