10 Silly Inventions That Became Wildly Famous

Shake Weight
The Shake Weight claims to improve upon dumbbells by adding a spring into the mix. Image courtesy herrea, used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Sometimes, infomercials take on a life of their own. Without infomercials, many of the products in this list may never have achieved fame or infamy. The Shake Weight might just fall into that category. We'll never know if this odd piece of exercise equipment would have achieved fame without an infomercial but there's no question that advertising for the Shake Weight made it famous.

The Shake Weight consists of a handle and two weights -- but it's no dumbbell. The weights attach to the ends of the central handle via springs. You hold the handle in the center and shake it to get a workout. According to the advertisement, following the suggested workout for six minutes is equivalent to working out with normal weights for five times the routine running time. The original Shake Weight was 2.5 pounds (1.13 kilograms) -- a model for men weighs twice as much.

The Shake Weight gained fame beyond its own infomercial. It appeared in parodies on "Saturday Night Live" and on stage at "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Whether you call it fame or infamy, the Shake Weight's notoriety is greater than most other exercise products on the market.