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These Famous Idea People Failed Their Way Forward

Inventing Advice, Inventor Stories, Patents


In Monday’s blog, we introduced the idea of failing your way forward. We showed you how failure isn’t the end. In fact, failure is just the beginning.

After sharing our founder and CEO George Davison’s story of failing forward, we were intrigued and did some investigating of our own to uncover other prominent inventors and idea people’s stories of failure that turned into success.

Without further ado, we’d like to share with you four famous idea people who failed their way forward!

Sir James Dyson

Sir James Dyson - Fail Forward

“Enjoy failure and learn from it. You can never learn from success.”

Vacuuming your home wouldn’t be the same if Sir James Dyson gave up on himself and his idea after countless failed attempts. By countless, we mean 5,126 failed prototypes, in addition to completely wiping out his savings over the course of 15 years. Little did Sir Dyson know that lucky number 5,127 would be the patent that turned his idea into reality! Now, Dyson is the best-selling bagless vacuum brand in America. It’s a story such as this that shows how failing forward, no matter how many times, can sometimes lead to major success!

Bill Gates

Bill Gates - Fail Forward

“It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

It might be hard to believe, but the co-founder of Microsoft endured his own setbacks. In fact, in high school, Gates along with fellow Microsoft co-found Paul Allen created Traf-O-Data. Though they were paid for their efforts, the business ultimately failed. After high school, Gates went on to attend Harvard but eventually dropped out! Though some would consider dropping out of Harvard as a failure, Gates saw it as an opportunity to pursue programming. In the end, Gates used both of these events in his life to propel himself forward and to create what we now know as Microsoft.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison - Fail Forward

“I failed my way to success.”

What would you do if you were told that you’re “too stupid to learn anything?” For some, that would cripple any attempts at chasing after their dreams, but for Edison, when his teachers told him that he was “too stupid to learn anything” he used their words as motivation to fail forward. Even after being fired from not one, but two jobs, Edison still pushed forward to chase after his dreams. If he had succumbed to these roadblocks in his life, we wouldn’t have the inventions that changed the course of our lives as we know them, including the practical electrical lamp, the phonograph and, of course, the movie camera. Naysayers couldn’t deter Edison; rather they propelled him to fail forward and ultimately have more than 1,000 patents credited to his name!

John Logie Baird

John Logie Baird - Fail Forward

Finally, in case you missed it, yesterday marked the 90-year celebration of John Logie Baird’s television invention! His mechanical television, also known as “the televisor,” was much like a radio. The difference was that his invention included a rotating mechanism that generated video to accompany the sound. Though his invention preceded the modern television, when he publicly demonstrated his invention in 1926 in Soho in front of members from the Royal Institution and a Journalist from the times, his idea wasn’t warmly accepted. In fact, the journalist didn’t see a future for this invention. But, that wasn’t the worst of it. Baird approached the Daily Express newspaper with his invention and they actually kicked him out. Talk about a failed attempt. But Baird didn’t let that failure deter him; he instead used it to fail forward and in 1927 he transmitted content a whopping 438 miles through a telephone line between London and Glasnow.

As you can see, even the most famous idea people have endured their fair share of failure along the way. However, it’s how they handled these obstacles that ultimately led them to their profound success.

Rather than letting failure define them, these idea people failed forward. Look how amazing their ideas turned out!

If you’re ready to chase after your inventing dreams with the Davison Inventing Method, submit your invention idea today!

Copyright Davison, 2016




‘Tis the Season for Inventor “D”elight

Dare to Invent, Davison News, Innovation, Innovative Inventions, Inventions, Inventor Stories, Product News

Client Reaction - Davison

As we put the final touches on our holiday preparations and the last bows on each of our presents, in the spirit of the holiday season, there’s nothing quite as special as seeing the smile on someone’s face as you give them a gift.

But, it’s safe to say that receiving a gift can be just as great as giving a gift!

As an innovator/inventor, you dream, day in and day out, that your idea will one day change the lives of many – a gift for all. In the invention world especially, one of the best gifts that an inventor could unwrap is the gift of seeing their hard work, determination and inventive spirit come alive as a product that proudly sits on a store shelf.

With the holiday season in full swing, and as you’re likely getting ready for quality time spent with family and friends, we’d like to give you a small gift – a gift that we hope will inspire you to one day dare to invent.

Enjoy this quick clip of some of our clients seeing their inventions in stores for the first time!

Who knows, the next product you see in stores could be yours!

Copyright Davison, 2015




Three Things You Might Not Have Known About the Wright Brothers

Innovative Inventions, Inventor Stories

Wright Brothers - Davison

Today is Wright Brothers Day, which celebrates the brothers’ first successful airplane flight in 1903 near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina!

Both Orville and Wilbur Wright have been given credit for inventing the world’s first airplane that was equipped with aircraft controls for steering.

The famous aircraft, otherwise known as the “Flyer” made history when its flight lasted 12 seconds and traveled 120 feet on December 17, 1903.

Though this is a feat in and of itself, the Wright brothers’ first flight is even more meaningful for inventors who are actively pursuing their dreams.

In previous blogs, we’ve provided you with tips like how to tune out skeptics and the five qualities of a successful person to name a couple.

Wright Brothers Facts - Davison

Today, to celebrate the inventive spirit of this creative duo who took a chance, defied the odds and revolutionized modern transportation as we know it, we want to share with you three things you might not have known about the Wright brothers.

1. A toy sparked the curiosity to fly.

Intriguing as it is, a toy is what sent the Wright brothers airborne! Both brothers received a toy helicopter that was made from bamboo, cork, paper and a rubber band. A gift from their father’s travels in France, this toy left them amazed as they watched it flutter in the air before it fell to the ground. You could say that it was at this moment that their invention dreams took flight.

2. Genetic geniuses.

Though their father’s toy sparked their interest, it is said the Wright brothers actually inherited their inventive nature and handy-work from their mother, Susan Koerner Wright, who could make almost anything by hand.

3. One and done.

Once the Flyer made its successful flight in addition to a few other flights that day, it was never flown again. This was due in part to the fact that the aircraft was struck with a strong gust of wind and flipped several times. The damage was far too immense and the Flyer was sent back to Ohio and was never flown again.

Because Orville and Wilbur Wright dared to invent, we can admire these two everyday people who on this day 112 years ago decided to follow their invention dreams and become two remarkable inventors.

Will you dare to invent like the Wright brothers?

Copyright Davison, 2015




Three Famous Inventors Who Overcame Failure

Innovative Inventions, Inventions, Inventor Stories

“Every glowing path that goes astray… shows you how to find a Better Way!”

Leave it to a 1968 classic children’s film to provide just the right amount of inspiration and humor to keep us motivated.

Recently, our founder and CEO, Mr. Davison, shared the inspirational tune The Roses of Success from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a movie about a down-on-his-luck inventor who eventually invents a revolutionary flying car. See the song below.

Throughout this movie and this song in particular, viewers are shown that sometimes things don’t play out as you’d hope. This notion applies perfectly to the world of inventing.

Sometimes our imaginations run free and we believe that our inventions will be an instant record-breaking success. However, even some of the most famous inventors had to overcome obstacles in order to achieve success!

If you don’t believe us, here’s a short list of inventors who had to overcome failure.

Let’s start with an example right from the song!


Alexander Graham Bell – Straight from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a verse that encapsulates Bell’s struggles to claim his invention of the telephone as his own! For years and years, Bell faced legal challenges to claim that he was the sole inventor. Rather than give up, Bell embarked on one of the longest patent battles in history to fight for his idea.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison – The phonograph, electrical lamp and the movie camera were just a few of the inventions that are credited to Edison. However, none of these inventions, plus his more than 1,000 patents, would have been possible if he listened to his teachers that told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.”

Walt Disney

Walt Disney – Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney World wouldn’t mean anything to us today if Walt Disney listened to the newspaper editor who fired him because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” But, that wasn’t the only failure that Disney ever experienced. In fact, several more of his business ventures failed before the premiere of his movie “Snow White.” Despite these failures, we can see today that those detours eventually would lead him down the road to ultimate success!

Thanks to our own founder and CEO Mr. Davison for sharing this inspirational clip to show us that even the most successful inventors had to overcome their fair share of failures and obstacles to reach their own Roses of Success!

Copyright Davison, 2015



A Moment of Silence for a Man of Sound

Innovation, Innovative Inventions, Inventor Stories, Patents

Amar Bose, the founder and chairman of the privately-held company, Bose Corporation, passed away on July 12, 2013. Dr. Bose focused relentlessly on acoustic engineering innovation, creating speakers that earned a reputation for creating concert-hall-quality audio in the home, car and auditoriums.

Amar Gopal Bose was born on November 2, 1929, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father, Noni Gopal Bose, was a Bengali freedom fighter who was studying physics at Calcutta University when he was arrested and imprisoned for his opposition to British rule in India. He escaped and fled to the United States in 1920, where he married an American schoolteacher.

Bose first displayed his entrepreneurial skills and his interest in electronic innovation at the age of 13, when he enlisted friends as co-workers and began repairing radio sets and model trains for Philadelphia repair shops to earn pocket money. During World War II, his father’s import business struggled. Bose’s electronics repairs helped support the family, and after graduating high school, Bose enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in the early 1950s, Bose spent a year in Eindhoven, Netherlands, in the research labs at NV Philips Electronics; and a year as a Fulbright research student in New Delhi, India, where he met his future wife, whom he later divorced. He then completed his PhD in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T., writing a thesis on non-linear systems, under the supervision of Norbert Wiener and Yuk-Wing Lee.

Following graduation, Bose became an Assistant Professor at M.I.T.  While teaching, he bought a luxurious stereo speaker system, but was disappointed to find that the speakers, with extraordinary technical specifications, were unsuccessful in reproducing the realism of a live performance. This eventually motivated his extensive speaker technology research, focusing on key weaknesses, like the inability to reproduce the realism of a live performance, in the high-end speaker systems available at the time. He found that 80% of the sound received in a concert hall was indirect, which meant  that it bounced off walls and ceilings before reaching the audience. This realization, and the basic theories of physics, formed the foundation of his research.

In the early 1960s, his research led him to invent a stereo loudspeaker that would dominantly reflect the sound at the surrounding walls, rather than directly at the listener, in an attempt to recreate the concert hall experience.  This new type of stereo speaker was based on psychoacoustics, the study of sound perception. Bose’s early patents won him great respect within the industry; but he needed capital in order to do further research and begin production. Then, in 1964, his mentor and advisor at M.I.T., Dr. Y. W. Lee, helped Bose financially found his company to pursue long-term research in acoustics. The Bose Corporation initially pursued military contracts, but Bose’s dream was to produce a new generation of stereo speakers.

Though his first speakers fell short of expectations, Bose’s pursuit never wavered. In 1968, he introduced the Bose 901 Direct/Reflecting speaker system (1971), which became a best seller for more than 25 years.  This invention rooted Bose as a frontrunner in a highly competitive audio components market. Unlike conventional loudspeakers, which radiated sound only forward, the 901’s used the theory of psychoacoustics by blending reflected sound with direct sound.  This focus on psychoacoustics later became a trademark of his company’s audio products.

Bose was granted significant patents in many fields that continue to be important to the Bose Corporation: loud speaker design and non-linear, two-state modulated, Class-D, power processing. The Bose Corporation now produces products for users, homes, vehicles, and professional audio, as well as continues its ongoing research in acoustics and other fields. In a 2004 interview in Popular Science magazine, Bose said, “I would have been fired a hundred times at a company run by MBAs. But, I never went into business to make money. I went into business so that I could do interesting things that hadn’t been done before.”

In addition to running his company, Bose remained a professor at M.I.T. until 2001. In 2011, he donated a majority of the company’s non-voting shares to M.I.T., on the condition that the shares are never to be sold.

Through all of his research and inventions, Dr. Bose’s greatest innovation might have been combining technology with status. In doing so, his company became more than just a speaker maker, it became a brand name. Bose definitely left a thriving legacy, creating a successful name and earning over two dozen patents. Now, his name is synonymous with high-quality audio systems and speakers for homes, users, auditoriums and automobiles.


Copyright Davison 2013












The Game That Ties You Up in Knots

Inventions, Inventor Stories

Thanks to the creativity and innovative spirit of Charles Foley, the co-inventor of Twister, who passed away earlier this month, millions of people have had the curse and delight of attempting to contort themselves into awkward and uncomfortable positions while playing the sometimes controversial board game. With the slogan “The Game That Ties You Up in Knots,” Twister was the first game to use humans as board pieces.

Reyn Guyer, Reynolds Guyer House of Design’s chief executive officer, said that he designed a game called King’s Footsie — a Twister-esque game that was originally intended as a promotion for children’s shoe polish. He pitched the idea to 3M, but the company declined.

Charles Foley and Neil Rabens were then hired to refine the concept. Rabens said that he initially devised a game called Pretzel, in which people made “goofy moves” on a grid, but did not intertwine. Foley, whom Rabens described as the “idea man,” altered the concept to create the Twister we all know today.

Twister co-inventors Charles Foley (left) and Neil Rabens (right)

It encompassed Foley’s four requisites for a participatory game, needing a bit of skill and a bit of chance, allowing you to stick it to an opponent and being entertaining to watch. The game was licensed to Milton Bradley, who took Twister to Sears, the largest toy seller at the time.  Twister immediately drew criticism from some who called it “sex in a box.” Deeming the game too risky and too risqué, Milton Bradley decided to pull the game right before Christmas.

However, the company had already engaged a public relations firm that had landed Twister on “The Tonight Show.”  The game quickly became a sensation after Johnny Carson and Eva Gabor played. Gabor appeared moral in her blonde up-do and modest in a white dress, giving the game more innocence.

Twister became a top seller and brought Foley a level of fame. The patent was issued to him and Rabens for the apparatus for playing a game wherein the players constitute the game pieces.

“What makes the Twister game timeless is the fact that it’s always been about showing off your free spirit and just having some laugh-out-loud, out-of-your-seat fun,” said a spokesman from game-maker Hasbro, Inc. “The game’s popularity continues today as young fans still have fun getting tied up in knots.”

Although Twister was the most popular of his 97 patented inventions, co-inventor of the game Charles “Chuck” Foley had been inventing all of his life and had many innovative inventions. On July 1, 2013, at the age of 82, Foley passed away from Alzheimer’s disease complications.

Foley had started inventing at an early age and when he was 9, he invented a locking system for his grandfather’s farm, to keep the cattle from escaping the pen. As a young man, he worked as a salesman, served in the Michigan Air National Guard and worked on the assembly line at the Ford Motor Company, before taking a job at Lakeside Toys in Minneapolis. Over the years, Foley invented dozens of other toys and games, such as designs for plastic toy handcuffs and safety-tipped darts. He also invented a product called un-du, a liquid adhesive remover. Un-Du was named “Best New Product of the Year” in the 1993 School Home Office Products show in Chicago.

“He was extremely passionate about what he did,” said his son, Mark. “He had great vision. His motto was ‘I want to invent something that should be in every home and every commercial environment imaginable.’ ”

Thanks to creative and innovative people like Foley, we are able to enjoy embarrassing ourselves in the fun that Twister provokes—if only we could all live like Mark said his father did:

“He never stopped having fun. He tried to think like young people thought. He never wanted to grow up, and he always maintained his enthusiasm for seeing things through the eyes of a child.”


Copyright Davison 2013




Cup of Noodles Inventor

Inventor Stories

Chances are that if you raid the pantry (or mini fridge / desk drawer) of any college student, office worker or, shall we say, “cooking-impaired” individual, you will find one common item in stock…we are talking about RAMEN! Although most people only think of ramen noodles as a quick and easy lunch, this microwave meal is actually the creation of a celebrated inventor, and the significance of these noodles goes far beyond their convenience.

Taiwanese born inventor and entrepreneur, Momofuku Ando was living in post-WWII Japan—a time when the country was facing hard times and suffering from a massive food shortage.  Ando could   not understand why the Japanese government was encouraging citizens to eat bread instead of the traditional noodles that had always been the dietary staple of the country.   The government    explained that the noodle producers were simply too small to supply a nationwide shortage.  Ando realized that a quality, easily prepared noodle product could feed the masses and, being an    inventor, saw the shortage as an opportunity. He immediately began working to innovate the production process. Ando invented a method of drying and flash-frying noodles, allowing them to be  ready to eat in just minutes when covered with boiling water. In turn, he created the world’s first instant noodles.  He decided the flavor the noodles with chicken broth, and introduced Chikin Ramen  in 1958. However, Ando was far from done. In 1971, he invented his most successful product, Cup Noodles.  The revolutionary method or preparation exploded overseas, and as production  increased, prices dropped. Ando was able to open numerous production facilities and, eventually, he introduced the variety of flavors we know today, such as beef, shrimp and spicy.

Ando was honored by the Japanese government with numerous medals. In 1999, the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum opened in Ikeda, Osaka.  In January of 2007, Momofuku Ando Day was established in the United States, celebrating the inventor of what has become a staple food for disaster victims and those on a tight budget, as well as for college students and those in need of a quick and easy meal. Momofuku Ando Day is also a day to fundraise in order to help those in need and to call attention to poverty and hunger through ramen or food donations to food banks and soup kitchens.  Check out the video of the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum:


Today, people consume over 86 billion servings of ramen noodles each year, and it is no surprise that some individuals have gotten pretty creative with their ramen recipes! There are recipes for ramen French toast, ramen cole slaw, even ramen burritos! In fact, there is even a ramen cookbook, Ramen to the Rescue, with over 120 recipes!



Copyright 2013


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Inventor Monday: Elmer Sperry

Inventions, Inventor Monday, Inventor Stories

Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of a very important inventor in American history, but a man that most people probably never heard of—Elmer Ambrose Sperry.  Sperry was a prolific inventor, creating advanced compasses and gyroscopes for the United States Navy to stabilize ships, airplanes and aerial torpedoes. He also invented the gyrocompass and advanced targeting controls for accurately controlling naval bombardments. He spent 50 years of his life creating and innovating, and at the time of his death on June 16, 1930, had filed for almost 400 patents. To put that into perspective, the incredibly prolific inventor Thomas Edison filed for about 200 in his lifetime. So let’s learn a little more about Elmer Sperry, the man who is remembered by many as the ‘father of modern navigation technology.’

Sperry was born in upstate New York in 1860.  He seemed to have a natural gift for inventing. The story goes that he invented a horseradish grater to help his grandmother in the kitchen when he was only six years old. He was educated at the State Normal and Training School followed by two years at Cornell University where he became interested in dynamos. He left college early and moved to Chicago to start his own company; the Sperry Electric Company which made dynamos and arc lamps. This would be the first of eight companies Sperry would start over his lifetime.

In 1890, a man named G.M. Hopkins invented the first electric gyroscope, which is basically a disk mounted on a base in such a way that it remains in a fixed position despite the movements of its base.  Sperry saw that this device might be used to replace magnetic compasses, which didn’t work well for navigation on steel ships because of the magnetic interference of the metal. After years of experimentation, Sperry created a functional gyrocompass system, a navigation device impervious to magnetic fluctuations caused by the ship itself.

By 1908, Sperry had patented his gyrocompass and founded the Sperry Gyroscope Company in Brooklyn, New York. By 1911, the US Navy installed the gyrocompass in one of its ships and by the start of World War I, the Navy was using the device in all of its ships. In another invention for the war effort, Sperry created a device he called ‘Metal Mike,’ the first gyroscope-guided autopilot steering system designed to keep a ship on a set course without human monitoring. In 1915, he also introduced high-intensity arc lamps used as a searchlight, by both the Army and Navy.

Through World War I and into World War II, Sperry’s company expanded as military demand for its technological devices climbed. Sperry also applied the gyroscope to airplanes for the Air Force. He invented more devices for aircraft, creating one to give fliers ‘artificial horizons’ which enabled them to fly in heavy cloud cover. His company also created innovative radar systems, and introduced automated take-off and landing systems.

In addition to all of the marvelous inventions Elmer Sperry created for naval and aerial navigation, he invented and patented a wide range of devices for civilian use too, such as new types of street lighting, electric trolley cars, an electric automobile, new mining machinery, railroad safety devices, and even a lighting system for motion picture projection. But it’s for his contributions to modern navigation that he will always be remembered, especially by those involved in naval navigation. In fact, the Navy held him in such high regard that after his death, they named a Fulton-class submarine tender, the USS Sperry, after him. Pretty high praise indeed.


Copyright Davison 2013




How’s That Created Thursday: Twister Caps

How's That Made Thursday, Inventor Stories, Product News

Undoubtedly, you’ve gone to the bathroom countless times.  We’d even venture to guess that, while there, you never gave a thought to how the toilet holds fast to the floor… but, we’re betting you’re glad that it does.

Now, many historians give all the credit to the man who invented the toilet.  Rumors have swirled that it was Thomas Crapper (not a pun); but, the first toilet actually dates back to around 1596 with Sir John Harrington.

Other than total necessity and obvious convenience, what made that flushing toilet “stick” – in place that is?

Just look down the next time you’re in the bathroom.  Do you see dingy, exposed bolts at the base of the toilet bowl?  Perhaps a disheveled cap that may be half on the bolt, but barely covers it?  Or, do you see a neat, barely noticeable cap that securely covers that ever-important bolt?

Enter Gary and Ruth Frazer, the masterminds behind Twister Caps, the “why didn’t anyone think of that before” answer to exposed or clumsily-covered toilet bolts.

Like most people, the Frazer’s didn’t think much of their existing toilet caps, until they saw their son’s dog running around with one in his mouth.  It was then that they came up with the idea for Twister Caps, a threaded, screw-on toilet bolt cap that fits all toilets – thanks to careful engineering.

The Davison team helped the Frazer’s invent the cosmetically-appealing cap that’s made of high-impact plastic, threaded on the inside and is very affordable.

Twister Caps easily screw onto 1/4″ or 5/16 ” toilet bolts.  Injection molding is the manufacturing process that creates the mass-produced Twister caps affordably.

While the thought process behind Twister Caps and their installation may be quite simple, a lot of work went into creating those convenient toilet caps so they would fit every toilet.

And, thanks to Twister Caps’ unique threading, they won’t easily lift off.  Their success, however… has skyrocketed!

Millions of Twister Caps have sold nationwide at stores like Ace’s, Lowe’s and Home Depot.

So, thank you, Gary and Ruth Frazer, for noticing something so small that many of us just flushed it out of our minds.  Way to make a splash!

A typical project does not get a royalty agreement, sell in stores or generate a profit.

How’s That Made Thursday: Pugz Shoes

How's That Made Thursday, Hugs Pet Products, Inventor Stories

April showers bring… wet, muddy streets and paths that make taking our precious pets out for a walk a little challenging and messy. But, Fido needs to go outside – no matter what the weather is doing.

Today, we’re stepping into a new pet invention that has made walking in rain, snow, sleet or any other condition a little more comfortable for our four-legged friends.  Let’s venture through how Pugz Shoes were made.

It all started with Kay Thompson, who loved taking her two Shelties, Rough Spot and Autumn Angel, out for their daily walks.  But, Michigan winters were hard on her pups’ paws.  Not only were conditions wet and cold, but the chemicals that were used to treat roads and sidewalks were also damaging.

Kay set out to solve the problem of soggy, soaked paws.

Providing warmth and protection, Pugz are made of a breathable faux leather and faux wool that keep paws clean and dry.  Their soft, cushioned soles also comfort paws and protect hardwood floors from scratch marks.

Finally, Pugz are designed with an adjustable hook-and-loop strap that ensures a secure fit on any pet.

Pugz are now available in sizes extra small through large and they come in fashionable boot or tennis shoe designs.  They’ve sold in retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond, SkyMall and many others.

Now that you know how Pugz Shoes are made, see how their worn.

A typical project does not get a royalty agreement, sell in stores or generate a profit.

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