But then came 2017, the year that logic died and the spinner finally had its day, much to Hettinger's lack of gain. At least she can take some solace in how her invention would have never made her rich anyway. Even if she had stuck to her patents, it would have expired in 2014 -- so long ago that some of the people making fidget spinners today weren't even born.
The Thermos Popularized Itself To Death
What do aspirin, heroin, dry ice, kerosene, and trampolines have in common, besides making for a memorable night out? They've all been the victims of genericide, which oddly isn't the proper wordage for a really bland mass killing. In the past, companies often aspired to have their brand name become synonymous with the product itself, figuring that everyone saying their name over and over counts as free advertising. What they often didn't realize was that by doing so, they ran the risk of losing their brand's trademark, allowing anyone to market the product under that name. It's like how Otis Elevator Co. ruined their name when everyone started calling their invention elevators instead of the original term, up-and-down coffins .
The perfect example of this kind of marketing hubris came from the King-Seeley Thermos Company. The company, which had cornered the slightly metallic-tasting hot beverages market, decided not only to bank on their market share, but to also actively advertise it. In its marketing, King-Seeley barely mentioned that it sold vacuum flasks (the proper term for their product). That's because it sold something far better: the Thermos.