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50 Best Business Ideas

Of The Last 50 Years

Ian Wallis

When the pill was first released in US in 1968, authorities tried to restrict it to married women, but this just created a thriving black market. The Japanese medical association kept it out for 40 years, ostensibly for health reasons, but actually to protect their thriving abortion business.

Environmentalists opposed disposable nappies but analysis showed that the amount of washing required for cloth ones means they have a higher environment cost.

Home satellite dishes invented by NASA scientist Taylor Howard. He built one to expt with video transmission, but found he could pick up the satellite signals intended for cable companies. He sent them a cheque for $100 to pay for the movies he watched, but HBO sent it back, saying that they were not interested in being paid by individuals. They came to regret that letter.

Beer can ring pulls invented by frustrated picnicker who forgot the church key he needed to open his can of beer. Added a cent to cost of every can, so many manufacturers reluctant to take it up. But just like screw top wine bottles, customers' refusal to buy beer without the ring-pulls forced their hand.

Around 1 million plastic bags are used every minute, world wide.

The first microwave cooker went on the market in 1947. Called the Radarange, it was a water-cooled 3Kw oven that stood 6 feet high, weighed 340kg, and cost $5000.

The first successful smoke alarm invented by accident. A Swiss engineer was trying to make a detector for poisonous gas, but the sensor couldn't pick it up. So he stopped to have a smoke and think about the problem. The meter promptly went off. (Wouldn't happen today!)

First Internet domain names created 1985 ( Now didn't have to remember the numerical IP address. registered 1994.

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