A Brief History of Inventions

Innovation is the lifeblood of business. It drives progress, creates opportunities, and shapes industries. Over the years, numerous inventions have proved transformative, but few might consider the humble windshield wiper or the ubiquitous umbrella as having a significant impact. Yet, both have profoundly influenced various industries. Let’s delve into their fascinating history and business implications.

Windshield Wipers: Clearing the Way for Safety

The windshield wiper, a now indispensable car accessory, was invented out of necessity by Mary Anderson in 1903. Observing that tram drivers had to constantly battle the elements to keep their windshields clear, Anderson devised a manual device to remove snow and rain from the inside of the vehicle.

Her invention initially faced resistance, but by 1916, windshield wipers became standard equipment on most new cars. This innovation didn’t just improve driver safety; it also created an entirely new automotive aftermarket industry. Today, companies worldwide produce a vast array of wiper blades, catering to different weather conditions and vehicle types, generating billions in revenue each year.

Umbrellas: Shielding Opportunities

Umbrellas have a much longer history, dating back to ancient Egypt around 3500 BC, primarily used as a symbol of power and wealth. The Chinese later enhanced umbrellas by waxing and lacquering the paper canopy, making them resistant to rain.

The modern umbrella, popularized by Englishman Jonas Hanway in the 18th century, combined a lightweight frame with waterproof fabric. This seemingly simple invention has spawned a global industry, with companies producing everything from basic rain shields to designer accessories and innovative smart umbrellas. The global umbrella market is expected to reach $7.83 billion by 2025.

Innovation: The Business Game Changer

The stories of the windshield wiper and the umbrella demonstrate how even simple inventions can create ripple effects across industries. They remind business owners of the power of innovation – not just in terms of high-tech products, but also in refining existing ones.

Businesses should constantly strive to innovate, whether improving product functionality, enhancing user experience, or identifying new market opportunities. Inventions like the windshield wiper and the umbrella show that sometimes, the simplest ideas can lead to the most profound business impacts.

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About the author : Darlene

Darlene Gagnon is an award-winning entrepreneur recognized by the National Association of Women Business Owners and is an Enterprising Women Inspirational Entrepreneur. She served on the board of directors for Entrepreneurs’ Organization and has mentored entrepreneurs and start-ups for over a decade. Her two companies, WeKinnect Global Branding Agency and Kinetic Promotional Product Services, have been recognized as “Best Places to Work” and “Largest Agency” by American City Business Journal. Both companies serve the US, Canadian, European, and Australian markets. Both companies are located in The Woodlands, Texas, with teams in Canada, the Philippians, and India. Her digital marketing and advertising agency services in English-speaking countries around the world.