10 Silly Inventions That Became Wildly Famous

Suzanne Somers may have been the face of the Thighmaster, but inventor Josh Reynolds was the mastermind behind it. © Jebb Harris/ZUMA Press/Corbis

How can some padded metal tubing, bent into loops and hinged in the middle, create a craze? It helps if you have an infomercial starring Suzanne Somers using the product. That product is the ThighMaster, a piece of exercise equipment that first gained popularity in the early 1990s. You can still purchase one today -- there are even some variations and knock-offs on the market.

How does it work? It's a form of resistance training that'll give your muscles a workout if you use it properly. If your goal is to lose weight you'll need to vary your workout -- the ThighMaster system can help you tone muscle but isn't as effective at burning fat. And you might want to exercise with your ThighMaster behind closed doors -- it tends to look a little silly.