The Home and Housewares Show: A Brief Quirky History

The International Home and Housewares Show, hosted at Chicago’s McCormick Place, is the largest housewares-only show in the world. The show attracts 2,200 vendors featuring their incredible products and more than 60,000 attendees looking for what’s new in the world of housewares.

Kitchen was a huge focus of this year’s show. Natural-themed products and fun-infused ideas were also a big hit. Large companies the likes of Whirlpool/KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Thermos, Midea, Eureka featured their latest and greatest products. There were also many inventors featuring their own ideas – which we loved!

Quirky showcased more than 20 of its products invented by real people like you, including its power line with crowd favorites Pivot Power, Switchflip, Prop Power and Port Power. Quirky kitchen products Ventu, Bake Shapes and Tether made an appearance and new storage solutions Slimline, Cubby and Versa Store were introduced.

Over the 80+ years the Home and Housewares Show has been around, many interesting inventions where showcased to the world. Below are some of our favorites.

  • 1906 – The first Housewares show was held in the NYC Madison Square Garden
  • 1910 — Chester Beach’s small motor powered a milkshake mixer for a Wisconsin dairy company. He partnered with L. H. Hamilton to form the Hamilton Beach Company.
  • 1915 — Corning Glass Works developed a glass to withstand extreme temperatures for railroad signal lanterns—this led to PYREXovenproof cookware.
  • 1928 — Manufacturer Col. Jacob Schick patented a men’s electric shaver. The electric shaver market reached its first year of million-unit sales in 1936.
  • 1938 — KitchenAid introduced a stand mixer designed by Egmont Arens. The stand mixer became the company’s keystone product and its form a symbol for a product type.
  • 1948 — Engineer/entrepreneur Lewis Salton invented an electrically heated tray to keep food warm at the dining table. His HoTray served buffet-style parties for decades.
  • 1958 — Corning introduced Pyroceram, a ceramic-glass material that could endure heat and cold and was strong enough for space missile nose cones. Corning Ware cookware soon became a kitchen classic.
  • 1966 — In Germany, Heinz Hankammer developed the AquaDeMat filter to desalinate water to use in car batteries. He made jug water filters for home tap water and named his new company, Brita, after his daughter.
  • 1979 — Black & Decker applied the technology it created for the Apollo moon landing to its Dustbuster.
  • 1994 — Salton, Inc. invited boxer George Foreman to represent its new grill, the George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine.
  • 1999 — Procter & Gamble’s Swiffer made its debut. The mop with the dirt-grabbing, disposable cloths created a new category of cleaning tools.
  • 2002 — The iRobot Corp., founded by Helen Greiner and partners to create military, industrial, and research robots, introduced the Roomba vacuuming robot and in 2005, the Scooba floorwashing robot.

Source: Wikipedia

Learn more about Quirky Products featured at the Home and Housewares Show (#IHHS2018):

  • Pivot Power – Jake Zien
  • Switchflip – Inventor Erin Wiggins
  • Prop Power – Inventor Jacob Riesgaard
  • Port Power – Inventor Marc Zech
  • Carabandits – Inventor Marc Zech
  • Slimline – Inventor Leanne Luce
  • Crates – Inventor Jenny Drinkard
  • Cubbycomb – Inventor Lisah
  • Cubby – Inventor Tammy Maddrey
  • Versa Store – Inventor Robert Francois
  • Stackable Locker Storage – Inventor Jaswinder Brar
  • Pawcet – Inventor Tony Lytle
  • Silo – Inventor Jan H
  • Broom Groomer – Inventor Bill Ward
  • Squeak – Inventor Team Lab
  • Zen Cosmetics – Inventor Edwin Van de Bospoort
  • Ventu – Inventor Andrea Z.
  • Bake Shapes – Inventor Hadar Ferris
  • Tether – Inventor Gary Rose
  • Poppit – Inventor Yolanda Jackson
  • Stem – Inventor Timothy Houle
  • Verseur – Inventor Angelo Cacchione
  • Sheath – Inventor Sonia C.G.
  • Bobble Brush – Inventor Spencer Sloan
  • Solo – Inventor Don Darnell

Women Won’t Hold As Many Patents as Men Until The Year 2092

That’s according to The Atlantic, which means “when we reach patent gender parity I’ll most likely be dead, or at least wearing a new “sleeve” Altered Carbon style, says Gina Waldhorn, President of Quirky.

Less than 8% of all patents filed name a woman as the lead inventor.

81% of patents filed DON’T NAME A SINGLE WOMAN AT ALL.

If 30% of women hold STEM undergraduate degrees, and 24% hold STEM jobs (according to the US Dept of Commerce), and if we just consider how many original ideas are outside of STEM fields, why the hell are only 8% of patents coming from women??

My guesses are:

  1. Patents are expensive, and funding for female-led companies actually GOT WORSE in 2017. If the majority of funding is behind men, the majority of patents will be behind men.
  2. There aren’t enough women in STEM jobs at corporations which are filing patents on the regular. Even though studies have shown teams with females on or leading them boosts the bottom line, too many companies use the pathetic excuse that “we don’t see enough female candidates applying” to avoid taking real proactive steps in hiring women.
  3. Patents are confusing and time consuming, as is creating an original product or process to begin with, and without flexible work structures it can seem impossible for many women who are also managing motherhood to pursue them. Love what companies like Werk are doing in this space.

“Don’t worry, I’m not here to whine. I’m here to do something about it.

It’s been exactly 1 year since I assumed the role of President at global invention community Quirky and I am lucky enough to be in a position to steward real change,” says Waldhorn.

In a few weeks we’ll be announcing a major initiative to move the needle in 2018 on patents filed by female inventors. This will be more than a “movement,” we’re going to take action to get more patents filed with female inventors named on them.

What will it take? Awareness, education, and support to help play the long game. 3,000 patents filed with women named on them plays the short game and moves the needle one percent in 2018. Message us if:

If you are involved with Corporate Social Responsibility at any of the top 20 patent filing companies (see here).

If you work with any organization promoting females in STEM education or employment.

If you’re in IP law and need to fill your pro-bono hours with something worthwhile.

If you work for a major brand that supports Open Innovation.

If you believe this is as important and worthwhile as we do.

Lookout for news when Quirky officially launches our initiative in the coming weeks. “I refuse to be dead, cryogenically frozen, or suspended as AI before we reach gender parity in inventing,” says Waldhorn.


See the original article here:

Quirky Makes an Appearance at the New York Toy Fair

Each year nearly 1,000 global media representatives flock to Toy Fair to report on the hottest trends in toys and games. From exhibitors to manufacturers, attendee companies presenting at the Toy Fair account for approximately 90% of the annual U.S. domestic toy market totaling $26B.

This year Quirky joined thousands of other registered play professionals at the Jacob K. Javitz Center in New York City, to showcase some of the marvelous inventions submitted by our very own Quirksters!

Quirky showcased one recently launched product, the Tune Zoo and previewed 5 brand new inventions currently in the development pipeline. These are the lucky inventions that made an appearance at one of the biggest Toy shows of the year:

Free Wheel by Rene Diaz of Dallas, TX
Tune Zoo by Debbie Schwartz of Plantation, FL
Boo Boo Bear by Faith Bouchard of Phoenix,AZ
Q the Kangaroo by Christopher Zailo of Gulf Breeze, FL
Soundtrack by Ricardo Seola of Milan, Italy
VA Spy Tank by Megan Yocum of Kentucky

Congrats inventors!

Meet Quirky Inventor: Paulette Blankenship

Meet our featured Inventress, Paulette Blankenship!

Paulette has had aspirations of becoming an inventor since childhood. With so many innovative ideas in mind, she began searching for a way to make it happen. And then it did! Paulette came across Quirky several years ago during a televised broadcast and shortly after decided to give Quirky a shot!

“Since joining, I have made friends on the other side of the world and what I love most is that these people are just like me and we share the same passions for inventing and collaborating on ideas. My professional experiences have included anything from Magistrate to Real Estate, but for me, nothing has been more rewarding than inventing with friends…. it’s what I love.” – Paulette Blankenship

Since joining, Paulette has submitted 260+ ideas, collaborated on 690+ inventions to help other Quirksters and is an avid community forum leader. One of her most recent ideas was the SOS Flashlight: a flashlight that sends out 3D distress signals via laser projection. The SOS Flashlight was one of the winners of the ACE Hardware Invention Challenge, which was an initiative by Quirky + ACE Hardware aimed to develop inventions to help victims of hard-hit hurricane areas. Her invention recently passed Quirky’s Development tests and is moving to Production! It will be on ACE Hardware store shelves in 2018! Learn more about her SOS Flashlight idea here.

Community is at the heart of who we are at Quirky. We couldn’t help but to ask a few of our Quirksters about Paulette. Here’s what they said:

“Paulette’s creative engine never shuts down. I love working with Paulette; she inspires me and helps me to become a better inventor!” – Debbie Schwartz, Inventor of the Tune Zoo

“Paulette is a creative dynamo and the most passionate member I know. She’s the total package – skill, intellect, creativity, and dedication to task. Her excellent contributions on my invention are a testament to her skills, passion, and dedication to making invention accessible through – collaboration.” – Constantine, Inventor of Pivot Power Cubed.

“Working with Paulette is always fun and inspirational, She is an extremely creative person and comes up with more features and uses than any other member I have worked with” – Bill Jephson, Community Quirkster

Inspired? (we are). Join our community and spark up a conversation with Paulette here.

Quirky and Syracuse Partner to Make Invention Accessible

Students kicked off their spring semester with a 2-week invention challenge hosted by Quirky.

The community-led invention platform Quirky in partnership with Syracuse College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) partnered to deliver a one-of-a-kind invention experience for students coming back from winter break. When students arrived to start their spring semester at VPA, they were greeted by Quirky industrial design lead, Lex Zelekowitz, a Syracuse alumni and briefed on a Quirky invention challenge, The World’s Greatest Party Host, to design the next generation of party planning and hosting products.

Students were engaged and excited about the challenge – with multiple groups starting their brainstorming exercises within minutes following the brief. “This was a great group project, where students from freshmen to seniors had a chance to practice defining problems, communicating the solution and thinking about possible production methods. The collaboration was fantastic. Solutions truly emerged from anyone on the team,” said Denise Heckman, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator for the Syracuse School of Design.

Students will not only receive a grade from the school on their design work, but also vie for the opportunity to be chosen to preview their invention idea live on Quirky partner HSN’s Monday evening show, American Dreams, a program designed to tap into the joy and excitement of discovering new entrepreneurs.

Nearly 100 students participated in the invention challenge, and more than 20 ideas were submitted over the 2 week period. The winning product or products will be selected in March. As new members of the Quirky community, students will also have the ability to receive product royalties if their idea is chosen and commercialized.

Knowledge in science, technology, engineering, arts [industrial design] and math (STEAM) can be the key to a successful future. Some of the most well-known leaders of our time, including Steve Jobs and Marissa Mayer, demonstrated strong creativity and technical skills. “We invest in the younger generations because tech is the face of the future. 80% of jobs in the next decade will require technology skills and we believe partnerships like the one we have with VPA will help prepare students for their careers,” says Gina Waldhorn, President of Quirky.


The best inventions we found at CES 2018

This year, CES, the country’s biggest consumer electronics show in the world, featured nearly 3,900 exhibitors covering more than 2.75 million square feet, making it the biggest floor in the show’s history. Team Quirky represented products invented by real people like you at the show across two booths. Among the Quirky inventions which were featured:

– Air
– Spacebar
– Chirp
– Helix
– Trek
– Ventu
– Silo

Watch the video of Quirky President Gina Waldhorn touring one of our booths.

That’s not all, at CES, we walked the floor at Eureka Park on a mission to find the coolest new inventions. Below are a few of the products we discovered.

  • Jooki: Celebrate the joy of music with your kids without the screen. Hear Theo’s story here
  • Shapescale: This smart scale will change how you view your fitness progress. Hear Charlie’s story here
  • Siren: Meet the sock that can change it all for diabetes patients. Hear Maryam’s story here
  • Oblend: The first essential oil dispensary is here. Hear Jim’s and Matt’s story here
  • WiSurf: Customize your wireless charging station with Wi Surf. Hear Lucas’s story here
  • Hypnos: Find a new way to start thinking and feeling better with Hypnos. Hear Kevin’s story here
  • My Special Aflac Duck™: This cute robot helps kids cope with cancer. Hear Hannah’s story here

There were many more incredible inventions, head on over to our Instagram to see a few more of our highlighted inventions from CES!

Asking for Faster Horses: Why Big Brands Are Struggling

This week the WSJ published an article detailing Unilever’s struggle to maintain market share as independent and local startups continue to usurp the once all-powerful market leaders. The Journal details how they’ve tried everything from corporate restructuring, to hiring “game changers”, and full on copycat tactics, all to little avail.

Outside of what the article mentions, Unilever has also been one of the most publicly aggressive companies to partner with early-stage startups as part of their Foundry initiative.

All of these efforts are to be applauded and given A’s for effort (I’m not a shareholder, so I can be generous), but something is clearly missing for Unilever, and for many other Fortune 500 companies whose CEO’s are waking up in a cold sweat wondering when their Dollar Shave Club is going to launch. I have one hypothesis for what’s wrong:

Their efforts are reactive.

What’s stopping Unilever and other global brands from creating the next Halo Top given all of the resources in their arsenal (money, research, technology, patents) is their need to have a meticulously defined goal. To know where they want to end up. Big brands innovate in response to solve a brief, to hit a financial goal, to address a new target market everyone is making money on but them. Their responsibility to shareholders forces them to be managerial thinkers instead of entrepreneurial thinkers, which would see them create opportunity from the means at their disposal versus always working to hit a goal already established.

That’s where open innovation can provide the advantage. Let an open innovation program do the entrepreneurial thinking for you. How?

First, stop structuring your innovation programs solely around briefs. It’s the Henry Ford “they would have said faster horses” conundrum. To employ an entrepreneurial mindset, give your crowd the means, and let them create the opportunity. Share research, patents, and past experience with them. Inspire them and invite them into your world with dedicated challenges, but don’t sell yourself short by ONLY ever asking them to solve a specific challenge. Let the ideas flow like the salmon of Capistrano.

Second, listen to what they’re already telling you. How are you capturing the voice of your customer (VoC), voice of your employee (VoE), or a combination (the voice of your customer through your employees- VoCE). They’re out there asking for products that don’t exist yet all the time – through their complaints, through their suggestions, when they search on Amazon or Google, when they post on Kickstarter or submit on Quirky. A thoughtful data science practice can collect, organize, and analyze this data to uncover invaluable product, feature ideas, or whitespace that can be a game changer if you only open yourself up to the possibility.

The beauty of open innovation is that you’re not the ones doing the innovating! You no longer need to “come up with an innovation that solves X” or “respond to the VR trend with innovation Y.” Accept that you have no idea where you might end up and you won’t find yourself stuck selling just a faster horse.

Read our article on Linkedin: 

Read more from Gina:

Standing Up to the #CESSoMale Fail

Last week CES was exposed for the obnoxious lack of diversity on their Keynote Stage. Not one single female speaker, and almost 100% white men. After getting bombarded with blogs and tweets from major tech influencers, diversity advocates, and Fortune 1000 corporations calling for change, they issued the world’s worst excuse. In a nutshell, they said zero women “fit their criteria” for a coveted keynote spot.

Then that response got slammed and slammed again. Naturally. Because it’s pathetic.

CES could have easily added a handful of women and people of color to the keynote stage by expanding the lineup, or simply asking a few men to swap out their spots (of which I’m guessing many of them would have been happy to do). Or hire a badass PR agency like Small Girls to spell it out for them.

The good news? A handful of gender avengers have stepped up to launch their own programming track at CES dedicated to a conversation around the importance of diversity, and showcasing what CES was so blind to see. If you’re planning on attending the show in January, follow and add these sessions to your calendar to get an unbiased view of the incredible work being achieved:

Your fearless female leaders from Quirky (@gwaldhorn and @LissaRegets) will be hanging in the Quirky Invention Suite all week, so come pay us a visit too!

Quirky’s Invention Process Explained

If you have an idea for a product or enjoy product design and helping others with their invention projects, Quirky is for you! Inventing on the Quirky platform is simple and it’s easy to track your invention from beginning to end. With Quirky’s invention platform, there are (5) five stages, or steps your invention goes through on its way to becoming a store-ready product: (1) Concept, (2) Review, (3) Development, (4) Production and (5) Launched.

Once you have setup your free account, you kick off the (1) Concept phase by starting a submission and give us an overview of your brilliant idea! 

You may choose to keep your submission private or make it public. Private keeps your invention between you and the Quirky team but prevents you from tapping into the community for help. Public shares your invention with the Quirky community, where other members can offer help with features and product design. Most members choose public as they come to Quirky with an idea and need help to push the invention over the finish line. With public inventions, community members are incentivized to contribute in projects in which you’ve shared “influence” (in other words, they have the opportunity to earn royalties for their contribution). When all areas of your invention are complete, you may submit it to the (2) Review phase.

While you’re invention is in the (2) Review phase, we begin our evaluation and capture feedback from the Quirky community on your invention to better understand its viability. In this phase, you are no longer able to edit your idea and the focus shifts to collecting market research on crowdsourcing competitive products understand the landscape.

Next up is (3) Development. If your invention made it to this phase, congratulations! We think your idea really has potential and we dedicate resources to further develop your concept. This is where we create industrial design sketches & renders, test materials, build prototypes and analyze price points to understand if your product has a place in the market. We’ll be sharing updates along the way as your invention is being refined. 

If after all of this, we believe we’ve found a winner, your invention will move into the (4) Production phase. This is where your product is being built at the factory and is on its way to hitting shelves soon!

Last but definitely not least is (5) Launched. It’s time to earn that cash! This is where we showcase your invention’s full journey and link to our Quirky Shop for shoppers everywhere to buy your invention.  And don’t forget – every time it’s sold, you earn! We share our product royalty 50/50 with the community. When you succeed, we do too!



QUIRKY, HSN, and Randi Zuckerberg to Host Invention Search in NYC

Calling all inventors and entrepreneurs in the greater New York City area. We want to hear your brilliant ideas!

Quirky and leading entertainment and lifestyle retailer, HSN, are hosting an open call to inventors and entrepreneurs to pitch their product ideas “Shark Tank” style at Randi Zuckerberg’s Sue’s Tech Kitchen in New York City on December 9th 2017.

The chance to pitch HSN and Quirky executives will be first come first serve. Check out for more information on how to participate.

The product search is a component of HSN’s American Dreams initiative – a program designed to tap into the joy and excitement of discovering new entrepreneurs, and then collaborate with strategic partners to find, educate and train inventors as they bring their products to market.

Sue’s Tech Kitchen is a tech-fueled wonderland for the mouth and the mind. Envisioned by bestselling author and serial entrepreneur Randi Zuckerberg, designed by a NASA scientist, and featuring technologies from all corners of the modern imagination, Sue’s Tech Kitchen offers a STEM-inspired adventure for the whole family that empowers kids to engage with tomorrow’s technologies and revolutionizes family dining in the process.