5 Dumb Inventions That Made a Millionaire

Many of the items that we use today were created in the last 100 or so years and since then, people have been coming out of the woodwork with their new creations. Although many were not successful, some of them were and we’re having a hard time understanding how they were able to make their creators millionaires. From Pet Rocks to Plastic Wishbones, these inventions have been listed as some of the dumbest creations of all time. Let’s take a look at a few of them. 

1. Pet Rock

At the top of every list of dumb creations that made million is Gary Dahl’s Pet Rock. In 1975, the advertising executive came up with the idea to market a rock as a pet. They were sold in custom cardboard boxes with breathing holes to make them “comfortable”. As unexciting as a pet rock sounded, people waited for hours in lines to get their hands on a rock. They were sold for $3.95 and by the end of its debut year, Dahl had sold almost five million units. The hype lasted for 6 months and saw a resurgence during the 1975 Christmas season. By February the following year, they had to be discounted because of low sales.

2. Billy Bob Teeth

Billy Bob Teeth are false discolored teeth meant to mimic a hillbilly.  The prosthetic sometimes had missing teeth, holes, or adornments and while something like this would never be acceptable today, it was when it was released in 1993. According to the website, the teeth, created by Jonah White and Rich Bailey earned them $40 million in sales. The gag gift is still sold today for $10 and while many people think that it is silly and in some cases offensive, it’s wealthy inventors would say otherwise.

3. Big Mouth Billy Bass 

The next Billy on this list is Big Mouth Billy Bass created by Joe Pellettieri in the 1990s. It was a plastic bass fish mounted on a frame that would sing or dance when someone walked past it. The fish’s list of tunes included Al Green’s “Take Me to The River” and Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. The animatronic fish went on sale in January 1999, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that it became popular. The product made over $100 million in a year and despite a significant decrease in sales, they are still sold today.  

4. Silly Bandz

Anyone who was in elementary school to high school in the 2000s should remember Silly Bandz as there was a high chance that you’ve owned one. If you don’t, they are small rubber bands formed into different shapes, from animals to dollar signs and they also come in several colors. The simplistic design is the reason for the wide profit margin as shortly after its release in America, the company went from making $10,000 a year to $100 million. In 2010, they raked in $200 million in sales. 

5. Doggles

Doggles, a portmanteau of dog and goggles, are a pair of eye protection for dogs. They were created by Roni Di Lullo who got the inspiration when she noticed her dog, Midknight, squinting when he was exposed to sunlight. After experimenting with human sunglasses, she developed one to fit the shape of her dog’s head. When they were launched in 1997, she made millions despite its efficacy coming into question several times in the following years. Doggles are still available today in a variety of colors and sizes. 


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