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10 – of the Most Simple Yet Effective Money-Making Inventions

The best ideas are always the simplest. The ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ kind of stuff that could’ve transformed you into a multi-millionaire if only you’d have thought of it. Which you didn’t. But these (very rich) people did:

  1. Spanx – the body-slimming underwear women love, and men hate, invented in 1998 by Sara Blakely and now sold across the world.
  2. The Smiley – the yellow happy face raised less than £100 for its creator Harvey Ball. The millions went to brothers Bernard and Murray Spain who went on to sell trillions of the associated knick-knacks.
  3. Velcro – invented by Swiss guy, George de Mestral, in 1941 after his dog got covered in sticky burrs during a walk. He’s made more than a £100 million from that messy mutt.
  4. Crocs – love them or hate them, you see a lot of the shoes that were developed for use in the sauna in 2002 by three friends, which is why turnover has exceeded a billion pounds.
  5. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes – In 1894, brothers Dr. John and Will Kellogg put a pot of boiled wheat on the cooker and forgot about it. No fire, no burnt pan, just a lot of crispy flakes and a load of money.
  6. Slinky – basically a spring that goes down stairs. It was invented by naval engineer, Richard James, in 1943 when he accidentally dropped a tension spring on the ground. It has since sold more than £250 million.
  7. Band-Aid – the first-aid plaster not the Bob Geldof event. More than 100 billion of these have been sold worldwide. Not bad for Earl Dickson, who invented it in 1920 after his wife kept burning herself cooking.
  8. Post-It Notes – basically down to two guys. Dr Spencer Silver invented the special adhesive that sticks but releases easily and Art Fry had a ‘eureka’ moment when his bookmark kept falling out of his choir book. Put the two together and ‘Hey Presto’ or rather ‘Hey Post-It’.
  9. Hula-Hoop – invented in 1958 by Arthur K. Melin – known as Spud – and Richard Knerr after seeing children twirling and rolling toys. No relation to the crispy snack that everyone puts on their fingers before eating.
  10. Frisbee – the idea came to Frederick Morrison in 1948 when he tossed the lid from a tin of popcorn to his girlfriend to pass time. It was originally called a Pluto Platter. Remember that next time you’re bored.