Some inventions save people's lives; others improve them by lightening or speeding burdensome tasks. Some creations, such as light bulbs, automobiles and space travel, even spark revolutions that forever change human history.
And then there are the ones that play Al Green songs from the mouth of a dancing, plastic fish.
Today, these odd-yet-simple ideas make us ask, "Why didn't I think of that?" Tomorrow, they cause us to wonder, "Why the heck did I buy that?"
Well, if benefit to humankind were the only means of making a profit, there would be no reality TV. As it turns out, the lucre landed by out-of-left-field innovations stacks up just as high and green as that raked in by world-shaking inventions.
In this article, we'll explore the more unusual and perplexing products of human creativity, the kind that made a ton of money. We'll examine how they capitalized on novelty, how profitable they grew and how well (or poorly) some of them have aged.
Who knows? Maybe a gadget from this gallimaufry will inspire your own flash of genius.