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Inventions to be Thankful For

Every Thanksgiving you give thanks to all the things you are grateful for. This year Quirky wants to celebrate the simple everyday inventions that we are grateful to have been invented.

In 1888 John J. Loud created the first ballpoint point, such a simple invention but even in the age of technology is still the go to writing tool. The first pens sold in stores originally manufactured only 50,000 pens but sold over 30,000 in the first week. Today if someone tells you “I don’t use pens” you would think they were strange.

Think about life without the toothbrush, talking to people would be a lot less pleasant. The toothbrush has changed drastically since its original invention on 1498 AD in China made from boars hairs as bristles (Be Thankful). The version we are more familiar with was patent by the company Dupont de Nemours. Just goes to show, although something exists doesn’t mean you can’t make it better.

How about your headphones, you can’t leave home without them. Originally intended for telephone operators connecting to switchboards slowly became this ongoing phenomenon. The first audio in ear headphones created by Nathaniel Baldwin in 1910 were originally dismissed but ironically picked up by the US Navy. But using headphones for listening to music didn’t actually become popular until 1958 by Joss Koss creating the first stereo headphones from cardboard and sofa foam. This invention was created around the rise of Rock & Roll ( talk about timing!)  Most couldn’t imagine life without headphones above all, how else would you effortlessly ignore people this Thanksgiving?

 

Anyone has the ability to invent the next great invention that we will all look back and say “ How did I ever function without this?”

Happy Thanksgiving, Keep Inventing!

Inventing is hard. Community matters.  

One of the most rewarding things about being an inventor is the community you join. By taking that leap of faith in manifesting an idea you immediately become part of a global family of like-minded creatives, who are all moving through the ups and downs of bringing a concept to market. And like most families, this one is full of characters. Makers, founders, inventors and entrepreneurs are often a special breed of people, filled with passion, perseverance, and emotion. While this family is full of people from different backgrounds headed in different directions, the overwhelming bunch of them have one thing in common: they’re willingness to help each other.

I’m constantly inspired and uplifted by our Quirky community members who don’t only support each other on the platform, providing renders, features, and other valuable contributions to Quirky submissions (which they do for a share of royalties), but off the platform as well (where they do it for FREE). They recommend freelancers, suggest educational resources, and share invaluable lessons learned to help new inventors avoid making similar mistakes they’ve made. It is truly a beautiful thing to witness.

If you’re a new inventor, welcome to the family! If you’ve been inventing for a while, welcome back. Here are some ways to get connected with invention communities:

  • Join the Quirky Community Forum! Our Quirky forum can be found at community.quirky.com. Note, you’ll need to create a separate username than what you use on Quirky.com
  • Join the Reddit conversation. Check out the invention subreddits such as r/LightBulb and r/Inventions
  • Join fellow inventors IRL (in real life)! Most major cities (and a lot of smaller ones) have Inventor Groups or Clubs. Check out a list of groups here on the United Inventor Association’s website, and make sure to join the UIA while you’re there – it’s totally free and chock-full of great resources. The Inventors Groups of America also has a great list here!

IGA

 

 

 

 

We know it can be intimidating at first, but once you get started, you’ll be hooked. Here are a few simple tips from our seasoned community members:

  • Don’t be shy, say hi and introduce yourself. A simple “Hi, I’m new here, just checking things out!” goes a long way, and you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how many welcome messages you receive.
  • Don’t feel pressured to contribute. As in the wild, there is a natural balance to every community. The 80/20 rule will probably prevail, and 20% of the members will make up 80% of the content, so don’t feel like you need to “pull your weight.” Speak up if/when you’re ready.
  • Be honest. Inventor communities that are moderated well should be safe spaces for honest communication and idea feedback. Be ready for people to shred your idea, and in fact, be open and excited for it! Hearing why people believe your idea WON’T work can be some of the most valuable input into your product journey you’ll ever receive. Just make sure when giving or receiving feedback you remember to be respectful.

Inventing is more fun when you do it together. Let the welcoming arms of an inventor community be another nudge that helps you take the leap into pursuing your idea. We’re waiting for you!

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!