5 Iconic Mashup Inventions That Have Stood the Test of Time

5 Iconic Mashup Inventions That Have Stood the Test of Time


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Mashup inventions have changed all of our lives. Imagine how crowded nightstands would be if they needed to hold a stereo, speakers, clock and alarm signal. Or how pockets might bulge if people didn’t have a single, small accessory that folded a slew of tools in one handy-dandy knife. And it’s hard to even remember what life was like before most people had access to a phone, computer, camera, video recorder and more all in a single device that fits in the palm of a hand.

The clock radio, multi-tool pocket knife and smartphone are all examples of mashup inventions: the combination of two or more ideas in a different configuration to create something new and productive, says Bernie Carlson, a history professor at the University of Virginia whose work includes the study of inventors and technology.

Carlson calls such crossover inventions a 20th-century phenomenon. Before then, he says, the goal of most designers was to optimize an item to do one job well.

“So, there were no Italian Renaissance sporks,” he says. “There were either forks or spoons because you made something to do the best possible job. But in the 20th century, the idea of empowering the customer to decide between different options took root, and inventions became much more open-ended.”

WATCH: Full episodes of Assembly Required with Tim Allen and Richard Karn online now.

Mashup inventions cross all genres—from industrial machines such as the bulldozer (part tractor, part World War I tank treads) to foods like the cronut (part doughnut, part croissant) to sports (frisbee golf, water polo) to transportation (the amphibious car) to novelty pop-culture favorites (beer hat, anyone?) and even baby gear, like recent skateboard-stroller hybrids.

Here’s a look at five mashup inventions that have stood the test of time—and are hard to imagine living without.

READ MORE: 11 Innovations That Changed History

Smartphone

Considered by many to be the gold standard of mashup inventions, the smartphone revolutionized modern technology. Originally introduced by IBM in 1994 as the Simon Personal Communicator—complete with email and fax capability, a calendar, touchscreen and stylus—the smartphone took a quantum leap forward in 2007 when Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone. Touted as a combination of three products—mobile phone, personal jukebox and touch-controlled desktop-class internet communications device—Apple’s iPhone enabled users to take photos, listen to music, check email, browse the web and more in one handheld device, all with the swipe of a finger.

"An iPod, a phone and an Internet communicator,” Jobs said at the rollout announcement. “An iPod, a phone—are you getting it? These are not separate devices. This is one device."

The iPhone and its competitors—from Samsung, LG and others—have continued to evolve, adding more mashup features such as built-in GPS, location services, video chat, health monitoring, stereo speakers, payment processing and more.

READ MORE: Steve Jobs Originally Envisioned the iPhone as Mostly a Phone

Multi-Tool Pocket Knife

Originally designed as a simple, easy-to-carry, foldable knife for Swiss soldiers in 1891 by Swiss inventor and cutler Karl Elsener, the famed red-handled, multi-use pocket knife started out as a rather simple mashup.

"It had a large blade, a can opener, a screwdriver and a reamer all on one side. On the other side was nothing," Carl Elsener Jr., great-grandson of the inventor tells The New York Times. "It was very strong but a little heavy so my great-grandfather decided to make a more elegant knife for officers which had a corkscrew and a second blade."

Its popularity with soldiers led Elsener and his Victorinox company to patent the handy tool in 1897 as a gizmo that combines a blade with a bevy of other tools—from screwdriver and can opener to scissors, toothpick and more.

American GIs discovered the all-in-one-tool during World War II, translating its difficult-to-pronounce name from “Schweizer Offiziersmesser" to “Swiss Army knife.”

Like the smartphone, this mashup also continues to evolve, with subsequent models adding more features. One discontinued model called the Super Timer combined tools for 31 uses (fish scaler included) with a Swiss quartz watch. "The thinking was to combine two famous Swiss products in one package," Jim Kennedy, president of the company that markets Victorinox knives in the United States, told The New York Times when the product launched in 1992.

Among the mashup accessories included on Swiss Army knife—and competitors’—models over the years: a tracheotomy blade (for choking emergencies), a wood saw, an orange peeler, tweezers, a fish scaler, a magnifying glass and a wire stripper.

READ MORE: 7 Historical Figures You Didn't Know Were Inventors

Seaplane

Historians credit French aviator and engineer Henri Fabre with making the first successful seaplane flight in 1910 outside Marseilles, France. Called the Hydravion, his mashup of an airplane and boat featured an ash wood frame covered in cotton and plywood floats. It both lifted off and landed in a lagoon on the Mediterranean coast.

That was the start of an enduring design. According to the U.S. Naval Institute, two of the three aircraft first purchased by the Navy were floatplanes. After experimenting with the performance of these hybrids, the Navy debuted a seaplane in 1917 during World War I designed to combat German U-boats. By the '30s, however, improvements in aircraft and anti-air defenses caused land-based bombers to take their place.

The first transatlantic flight was made in 1919, on the NC-4 seaplane, flown by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard. Unlike Charles Lindbergh’s famous solo flight from New York to Paris eight years later, this one was neither swift nor nonstop: The flight took three weeks, with multiple stops in the Atlantic needed for repairs, parts deliveries or bad weather delays.

Today's seaplanes are mostly smaller aircraft that feature landing gear allowing for both land and water runways.

READ MORE: 6 Little-Known Pioneers of Aviation

Clock Radio

With no record on file at the U.S. Patent Office, details of the clock radio’s origins remain murky.

Time magazine reports that James F. Reynolds and Paul L. Schroth Sr. invented the clock radio in the 1940s. Thomas Churm, in his Online Clock blog, reports that could be correct, but after exhaustive research couldn’t come to a distinct conclusion, noting that Bulova claims to have invented the clock radio in 1928. Harvard Business School gives the honor to Benjamin Abrams, founder of Emerson Radio and Phonograph Corporation.

According to Churm, early clock radios weighed a whopping 25 pounds, and evolved from wood console cabinets to more compact models that could fit on a nightstand to plastic versions still seen today. The Sony Dream Machine, launched in 1968, took things up a notch with its popular digital version, and modern clock radios have added more mashup features, such as smartphone docking and charging stations.

READ MORE: 8 Brilliant Tesla Inventions That Never Got Built

Stand Mixer

Most people don’t buy a stand mixer just to whip up ingredients for cakes or cookies. Along with the standard flat beater, whisk and dough hooks, the iconic mashup kitchen tool boasts attachments that allow it to work as a pasta press, spiralizer, food grinder, shredder, grain mill, juicer, sifter, ice cream maker, sausage stuffer and more.

The popular prototype KitchenAid model dates to 1908, when Herbert Johnston, a founder and engineer of Hobart Manufacturing Company, created a dough mixer to avoid the slog of mixing by hand. His patented design, labeled "Mixing Machine," featured moveable and removable bowls, according to Smithsonian magazine.

The first 80-quart-bowl H model, geared toward commercial bakeries (and used on Navy ships during World War I), launched in 1914 and could mix, beat and fold batter and dough. The next year, Hobart started its KitchenAid division with the 10-quart C-10, adding the five-quart H-5 in 1922 that sold for $189.50 (nearly $3,000 today). The K model—the iconic silhouette still used today—was introduced in 1937, spurring sales to new heights, with more and more accessories being introduced over the next several decades. Along the way, it has spawned a raft of competitors from Sunbeam, Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach and more.


What happened to Ali Wong on American Housewife? Fans question Doris’s physical absence!

The ABC series went through a major shake-up when actress Carly Hughes announced her departure in November last year after being on the show for four years.

Viewers are questioning Ali Wong’s most recent storyline as her character Doris has appeared in recent episodes only via a video call.

American Housewife: What happened to Ali Wong?

On American Housewife, Ali Wong plays a character called Doris, one of Katie’s (Katy Mixon) best friends. She’s been on the show since 2016.

But in recent episodes, Doris appeared only via a video call as the character is out of town and is spending some time in Hawaii.

It’s not only viewers who have questioned Doris’s absence as Katie asked her in a recent episode: “When are you coming home from Hawaii? Having second breakfast without you like this is ridiculous. They wouldn’t buy that we’re sharing waffles.”

Some fans have suggested that Ali’s physical absence might be because of current lockdown restrictions due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

A lot of production companies have changed their filming schedules so this might have clashed with Ali’s other commitments.

But the actress hasn’t explained the reason for her character’s storyline on the show.

Has Ali Wong left the show?

There are no reports that Ali has left the show. According to IMDB, the actress is yet to appear in future episodes of American Housewife.

Her profile shows that she doesn’t have any upcoming movies or TV series in the works but she might be busy focusing on other projects.

What we do know is that she will be back for the new season of the Netflix sitcom Tuca and Bertie. The second season is set to premiere later this year.

Moreover, Ali is also a stand-up comedian and her Netflix specials Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife have both received critical acclaim.

Fans react on Twitter

A number of American Housewife fans have taken to Twitter to question Ali’s physical absence from the series.

Check out a selection of reactions down below.

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“American Housewife” has done a weird thing where they’ve completely ignored that it’s happened, but Ali Wong still only appears on the show via Skype with the BS explanation that she’s on vacation somewhere

— Bill Brasky (@BillBrasky2620) January 13, 2021

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Ali Wong has like 10 minutes of screen time per episode on American Housewife and it’s still the highlight of each episode.

— Lele (@_blkbear) November 26, 2020


The 8 Greatest Inventions of All Time

Let me make one thing clear about this article: it enumerates not discoveries, but inventions. Inventions are conglomerations of different discoveries, both monumental and frivolous. As technology flourishes, older inventions become as relevant as yesterday&rsquos newspaper.

However, there happen to be some inventions that have stood the test of time and remain as indispensable as they ever were, while some that have been long forgotten completely revolutionized how we think about time and energy. These inventions didn&rsquot just change the course of humanity, but paved a completely new one out of sheer chaos.

Choosing eight inventions among millions was difficult, as there doesn&rsquot seem to be an objective way to evaluate significance. For instance, I read an essay penned by a man in 1913 who ranked &ldquomoving pictures&rdquo 4 th on his list. Granted, why should entertainment be trivialized, it is as valuable to us convenience, but surely not many people would agree with him.

The listed inventions are the ones that I found to feature most consistently on the lists made by me and my colleagues and lists I found on other websites. Spare me if I have missed an invention that you believe undoubtedly deserved a mention.


9. Money: The invention of first coin

First Coin Used in Athens, (545–525/15) BC
Source: Wikimedia Common

The concept of money is one of the most significant discoveries in the history of humankind. Even before the barter system (introduced in ancient India), the Lydians were using circular metal pieces (both silver and gold) the old Greek coins for trade which credits the Greeks with the discoveryFirst Coin Used in Athens, (545–525/15) BCof money.

The silver coins were known as ‘Drachma’ which meant ‘to grasp’. The Lydians were the first to use the stamped coins with different pictures on them minted circa 600-650 BC.

Fast forward to the present day money is the most important belonging of any person that comes second to a person’s body.

Perhaps the Greeks had never thought that something they had devised centuries ago could soar in its value so much and become one of the most significant things in life.


In glow sticks, the chemicals used to form the reaction are hydrogen peroxide and a combination of phenyl oxalate ester and the fluorescent dye that gives the glow stick its groovy color.

The hydrogen peroxide is enclosed in a glass tube and it randomly floats inside the mixture which is inside the plastic glow stick.

So, bending the glow stick causes that glass tube to break which releases the hydrogen peroxide.

Then some chemical reaction happens which makes it glow!

Two facts here that would make you the glow stick master!

To make it last longer, put it in the freezer, the glow won’t be as bright, but it will last much longer.

To make the glow brighter, heat the glow stick up, this will cut the poor glow stick’s life considerably though.


The 50 Most Iconic Designs of Everyday Objects

We rarely think about the design of the objects we use everyday. You don't usually catch yourself pondering the origin of your ballpoint pen or coffee maker when you're trying to write a paper or wake up after a night out. The fact is you're not suppose to these everyday objects have been meticulously designed to work so well that you never have to notice them - that's what good design is all about.

These everyday objects could arguably be the best examples of successful design: they have stood the test of time, they were easily adopted by a vast majority of the population, and, as objects, they are so user-friendly that they disappear into our daily routine.

Take a moment to appreciate these unsung heroes, both the classic designs that will never change and the ones that were pivotal in raising the bar of design. Learn a little more about the everyday objects that help you get through the everyday with our list of The 50 Most Iconic Designs of Everyday Objects.


5 Iconic Mashup Inventions That Have Stood the Test of Time - HISTORY

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From the quality of their craft to the originality of their design, these product icons exemplify a return to “slow design,” where durability and timelessness are key.

Remember the Maytag Repairman, the lonesome fictional washing-machine fixer who famously had little to do because Maytag appliances rarely broke down? In his heyday, product durability was a source of pride among manufacturers, and the reality of buying something for life wasn’t so far-fetched. Today, by contrast, our postglobal, speed-driven culture of impermanence tends to prize novelty over longevity, social-media buzz over evergreen appeal. Only recently have we begun to tally the increasingly dire costs to our planet and our societies of this slavish devotion to the new and next. As a result, slow design is hot again, as is a rejection of growth at any price.

“If we’re honest with ourselves,” Colorado-based designer and academic Jesse Weaver wrote recently in Design Like You Mean It, his online newsletter, “we’ve set our bar of value incredibly low. In the big picture, we’ve actually hit a point where we are losing value when we rush to exploit every niche of a market, or when we try to convince people that their life will be transformed by throwing out their 10-megapixel camera for the new 12-megapixel version.”

Of course, some brands have always understood the value of constancy. France’s Roche Bobois, for instance, has regularly enlisted a galaxy of design stars to jazz up the upholstery covering its modular Mah Jong sofa, but the system’s underlying strengths — its mix-and-match versatility, the couture-house level of handmade construction — have never wavered. Regardless of colour or pattern, Mah Jong transcends faddishness, appreciates with time, endures. It is this calibre of product — the icon that still resonates, the piece that survives and even thrives with updating, the clear classic of the future — that is worth our investment of time, money and effort. And it’s this type of product that we showcase and celebrate here.

Italian manufacturer Flexform is known for its expansive portfolio of high-quality tailored furnishings for both indoors and out. Its recently launched Gregory sofa is no different. The sophisticated Antonio Citterio–designed line sees an industrial metal base softened by a graphic weave of elastic straps finished in cowhide, which together support the plush polyester fibre seats and goose down backrest cushions. In an almost endless array of upholstery options, Gregory is available with four base finishes and three tones of leather.

Resembling a joyful arrangement of colourful cardboard offcuts, the Patcha series of rugs by Patricia Urquiola for CC-Tapis exemplifies both her own and the brand’s unparalleled creativity. That quality alone makes these tapestries — which overlap various pile heights and hues of lavender, taupe and burgundy with speckled technicolor fields — worthy of passing on from one generation to the next. Another is how the pieces are made: In a process that encompasses a material reimagining of what came before them, they are woven with wool and silk left over from the production of carpets and Indian saris. The result is an ethical and sustainable collection of vibrant floor coverings to be forever admired.

Lauded as one of Arne Jacobsen’s most recognizable designs, the AJ family of lamps for Louis Poulsen epitomized functionalism when it was revealed as part of the Danish architect’s all-encompassing concept for Copenhagen’s SAS Royal Hotel in 1960: the cone-shaped shade, cylindrical socket, and right and oblique angles are perfectly proportioned amalgams of geometric forms. Introduced for the first time last year, the AJ Mini table lamp is available in original polished stainless steel, as well as 10 vibrant hues from aubergine and rusty red to ochre and midnight blue.

First designed in 1958 by Børge Mogensen, the BM0865 Daybed has been re-released for the 21st century by the 113-year old Danish manufacturer Carl Hansen & Søn. Defined by its rigorously clean lines, the modular lounger features a carefully crafted solid oak base with softened edges and a thick upholstered seat. Added rectangular back pillows and cylindrical back or armrests (which can even be wall-mounted from saddle leather slings) make this chaise as adaptable as it is timeless.

Named after the stone implements created over 10,000 years ago, Jeff Martin’s Neolith table is fittingly designed to stand the test of time. Consisting of a sleek cast bronze base topped with a solid wood, stone or terrazzo surface in diameters ranging from 122 to 203 centimetres (custom sizes, as well as oval, oblong and rectilinear options, are also offered), its minimal yet substantive presence comfortably fits into any scheme. Metal finishes in satin, blackened, foundry fresh and silver nitrate, paired with one of four wood species, provide full flexibility in personalizing this collectible piece.

Designed for the Italian golf club it was named after (where it’s still in use today), Vico Magistretti’s Carimate Chair from 1959 was recently reissued by Fritz Hansen in a limited-edition run to honour what would have been the designer’s 100th birthday. The sculptural perch still boasts its telltale swooped arms, with only minor tweaks made to its shape and size for modern-day comfort (durable handwoven flax replaces the straw seat). Offered in the original glossy fire-engine red or rich black lacquer, Carimate is a model of everlasting design.

With his Le Club chair for Poliform, French architect Jean-Marie Massaud distills the archetypal leather-bound club chairs of the early 20th century into a refined minimalist form. Comprising two folded elements — one piece morphs seamlessly from arm to seat to arm, the second is draped perpendicularly to create the back — the armchair expresses a subtle playfulness and casual sophistication that sets a new and sure-to-be-enduring standard for both comfort and style. Multiple fabrics and leathers can be chosen to cover the flexible polyurethane body.

If Roche Bobois’s modular Mah Jong seating system gives off a sybaritic “Me Decade” vibe, that’s because it was designed by Hans Hopfer in 1971. For all intents and purposes, though, it’s as timeless as they come. The low-to-the-ground components — perennial bestsellers for the brand — are recognizable whether they’ve been upholstered by Jean Paul Gaultier or Kenzo Takada, just two of the star designers who have “dressed” them over the years (the latest patterns, pictured here, are by Missoni Home). This design strength is matched by the quality of their construction each cushion is made by hand in a dedicated workshop. And then there are the endless configuration options. Corner sofa? Check. Daybed? Pas de problème. Behind Mah Jong’s playfulness is serious functionality.

Update: On the 50th anniversary of Mah Jong, Roche Bobois presented a new fabric collection by Kenzo Takada — the last one the designer worked on prior to his passing in 2020.

It would be rather a shame to obscure the strikingly graphic outline of Nendo’s Frame floor mirror for Stellar Works even temporarily. But if you’re in need of a place to hang a shirt or suit while you examine your refection, feel free to do so: It doubles as a garment rack. It could also, of course, serve as a space divider. And it certainly counts as utilitarian art. However it’s employed, Nendo’s masterful combination of mirrored glass and powder-coated steel epitomizes founder Oki Sato’s ongoing effort to find beauty in the everyday. Think of Frame as another reframing of what a home furnishing can be.

“Nobody throws away things that are great,” Marcel Wanders often says. He would know: His Dutch brand, Moooi, creates furniture, lighting and accessories that are unbound to a specific time — too romantic to be futuristic, too iconoclastic to be from a bygone era — and so remain forever relevant. Like the company’s much-copied Random light of 20 years ago, the Hubble Bubble, with its elegant blown-glass spheres adhered to a sleek metal ring and powered by Moooi’s proprietary Electrosandwich technology, is destined for classic status. It comes with another Moooi invention: The Button, a proof of authenticity that ensures you have the real thing, and that it’s protected by warranty.

Original. Innovative. Light on its feet. In many ways, Sebastian Wrong’s sinuous Lucio chair for Established & Sons (released in 2020 in both high-back and lounger forms, with or without an integrated side table) is reflective of the brand as a whole. Every season, the U.K.-based company unveils small yet impactful collections, each piece as functional as it is eye-catching. In the case of Lucio, “the brief I set myself,” says co-founder and current design director Wrong, “was to create a steel-framed chair out of tubular sections, which was efficiently designed and very light.” He might have added museum-worthy, as many an E & S design has literally become.

Former EQ3 creative director Thom Fougere’s inaugural collection for Toronto retailer Mjölk takes the quintessential Canadian métier of well-crafted wood furniture and turns it up several notches. Its standout piece, the Tambour cabinet, handmade in Toronto in solid walnut or oak, might harken to the past, but it feels completely contemporary. The sideboard is named after the tambour doors, made with an heirloom artisanal technique, that entirely wrap its back. A gap between the doors and the frame provides a view of this detail, allowing us to appreciate the sliding doors as a tectonic and mechanical phenomenon distinct from the cabinet’s structure.

Known for his distinctive portfolio of singular, expertly crafted furnishings, Germany’s Sebastian Herkner designed the Blume lounge chair with a graceful, petal-like polyurethane seat and backrest joined by a slender extruded aluminum frame (available in four metallic finishes). The Pedrali-made piece features softened geometries, rolling edges and handsome details — including a graphic X-shaped base that supports the seat and a subtle bend in the back rails for added flair in profile — that make it an instant icon.

Classic yet raw, timeless yet contemporary. That’s how Stockholm-based designer Monica Förster describes Tucano. The compact writing desk, made by Zanotta, rises to the occasion of our WFH reality with elegance. Comprising a bent tubular steel frame painted matte black and a thin top made of a single piece of perfectly tailored cowhide (meant to patinate over time “to tell the history of the object”), it also promises to remain a forever piece in your home.

Toronto designer Paolo Ferrari’s editions are replete with pieces, fabricated by local artisans, that are destined to be prized for generations. His majestic corner-hugging Totem bookshelf is a prime example. Carved from solid ash, with sculptural sawtooth supports that are both decorative and minimal, the system does double duty as a showpiece room divider.


5. Nikolaus Otto

A German inventor, Nikolaus Otto is credited with the development of the four stroke engine. Also referred to as the Otto-cycle engine, his invention helped to initiate the development of motor cars. The same four steps of drawing in fuel and air, compressing the mixture then igniting it, and finally expelling through the exhaust is still the basis for our modern day combustion engines.


Elopak is born

The new company acquired the rights to import, install and service filling machines from USA. Plus, the license agreement for the production of Pure-Pak ® blanks.

On January 19th, 1957, the foundation stone was laid for the first Elopak plant at Spikkestad. Close to ports in both Drammen and Oslo, the site also benefited from proximity to paper factories on the Drammen River. Converting machinery was installed and the plant was opened on November 22nd, 1957. The first order came from the Sterovita dairy in the Netherlands, to supply 40 – 50 million Pure-Pak ® blanks monthly to US forces.

The first cartons from Elopak were for milk to the American forces in Europe. The US Navy sent people to Spikkestad to oversee the process.

The first European dairy to fill Pure-Pak ® cartons with milk were the pioneers at Asker Meieri (Asker Dairy), outside Oslo on February 5th, 1958. The filling machine was installed as a trial, and for an introduction period consumers paid the same price for milk in a Pure-Pak ® carton as milk in glass bottles. Norwegian housewives became the key to the Pure-Pak ® carton’s success, reaping the benefits of a carton that was light weight, unbreakable and did not have to be cleaned and returned.

Filling machine and conveyer belt at Asker Meieri in Norway, the first European Dairy to fill on Pure-Pak ® cartons. Photo by Svein Aurmark, courtesy of Budstikka.

Elopak becomes owner of Pure-Pak ® license world-wide


Watch the video: Experiment: 500,000 Match Stick House VS Chicken.


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