You’ll undoubtedly have used or consumed these everyday inventions, but do you know who was really behind them?
George Crum: Invented crisps
Legend has it that crisps as we know them were invented by George Crum, who came up with the recipe in a bit of a rage. At a restaurant in New York, chef Crum was getting frustrated with a customer who kept sending back his fried potatoes for being too thick. Crum, as a retort, sliced some potatoes extremely thinly, fried them, covered them in salt, and sent them out. To his surprise, the customer loved them. This allegedly happened in 1853 and it was not until 1948 when Harry Walker started the Walkers mega-brand and ensuing myriad of flavours that we all know, love and munch on today.
Momofuku Ando: Invented instant noodles
In post-World-War-II Japan, Momofoku Ando stepped up to the plate to try and provide his country with a familiar and easy-to-make foodstuff that would help during the recovery. In 1958, he was able to release the first of what would be many packets of pre-cooked instant noodles. They were popular, but it was the 1971 re-invention of placing them in pots that required only adding water that really saw this simple meal become a worldwide phenomenon.
Thomas Sullivan: Invented tea bags
It’s reckoned, by ‘smart people’ who are much better statisticians than me, that around 165 million cups of tea are drunk every day in the UK. If I pretend to also be a statistician, I would say that a-lot-of-percent of these are brewed from tea bags. The story here is that a New York retailer by the name of Thomas Sullivan would post his tea blends to far away customers in small bags. However, when his customers received their packages, they would make their brews with the blends still in the bags rather than taking them out. And so, a great convenience was born.
Despite this happening in the early 1900s, it wasn’t until Tetley started championing the tea bag to us Brits in 1953 that the idea started to take hold over here. Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of suspicion towards any interference with the known quantity of the British cuppa.
Eric Favre: Invented coffee machine pods
Our nice marketing manager Jen decided to buy the Fed Up & Drunk office a coffee machine, presumably because she felt we all needed a bit of a caffeine hit to write things faster. (Say hi to her on our social media!) She’s our equivalent of Eric Favre, who, in 1976, invented the Nespresso pod system. Other inventors would go on to innovate in the field in other ways, such as John Sylvan with the K-Cup for use with the popular American brand of Keurig coffee machines, but it was Favre who was first to finish. Or, indeed, start.
Ruth Graves Wakefield: Invented chocolate chip cookies
Every so often someone is born a genius, and I would go as far to say that Ruth Graves Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, is one such person. The story goes that Wakefield was looking for something different from her popular thin butterscotch nut biscuit to serve, and so came up with the Toll House (chocolate chip) cookie. This is said to have happened in 1938. Unsurprisingly, it proved rather popular and soon the demand went through the roof. She later sold the rights to the recipe to Nestlé for one whole dollar, and the rest is history.
Piqued your curiosity? Don your protective eye wear and have a gander at these weird inventions…
It’s not a roll on or a spray; it’s deodorant that you… eat?
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It’s the Edwardian style nitro ice cream buggy, of course