Free Enterprise Staff  | July 27, 2015

From Morning to Night, American Ingenuity at Work

Though you might not often think about it, many of the products you use every day were created in the U.S. by inventors, innovators, and business people—those who, without the free enterprise system, wouldn’t have the freedom to do what they do. Here are just a few of the things you can thank the free enterprise system for.

1. After hitting snooze on the alarm for the third time, you get up and grab a large cup of coffee. The Keurig that wakes you from your sleepy haze is based out of Middlebury, Vermont. The company prides itself on creating sustainable coffee and getting people to work on time for 30 years.

2. Originally started for hotels, Oreck vacuum cleaners have made their way into thousands of Americans homes. Oreck was founded in 1963 and has expanded across the globe.

3. Last night’s Lo Mein, today’s lunch? Thank the Bloomer Brothers. In the late 1800s the Bloomers Brothers started what is Fold-Pak today, making all those seamless deliveries and leftovers possible.

4. You can also thank American ingenuity when you heat those leftovers, specifically Raytheon employee Percy Spencer, who worked with magnetrons and later produced the Radarange, the first microwave oven, weighing 750 pounds.

5. Burt’s Bees started in 1984 as a honey business, which led to a candle business, which grew to a household beauty name. Expanding from a hip New York boutique to a large facility in North Carolina, the company has since celebrated 31 years in business.

6. Whether you’re a Pinterest DIY junkie or someone that always needs new keys made, Home Depot is there. Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus founded the one stop home shop in 1978 and went public 3 years later.

7. “Pass me a cold one” – MillerCoors has been saying that for over 300 combined brewing years, surviving both the Prohibition and the Great Depression.

8. Red or white? That didn’t matter to Adam and Sybil Strum, who started Wine Enthusiast on their shared love of wine. Founded in the suburbs of New York in 1979, Wine Enthusiast sells wine glasses, accessories, and custom cellars.

9. At first it was a secret, dubbed Project X, but now it’s called laundry detergent. When brothers-in-law William Procter and James Gamble founded Procter & Gamble, they sold soda, candles, and soap. The company eventually grew to launch Tide detergent and other necessities for the home, becoming a household name in more ways than one..

10. Take a peek in your kitchen cabinet and you’re sure to find Corelle, which was created in 1972 and has been on kitchen tables for more than four decades.

11. Woof! Tossing a Milkbone treat to Rover goes back to 1908. That’s when, in a bakery in the Lower East Side of New York City, one of a dog’s favorite things was born.

12. Desk cluttered with bright Post-It Notes? 3M scientist Dr. Spencer Silver was researching adhesives when he came up with the now-essential office product. As noted on 3M’s site, “Its now iconic Canary Yellow color was chosen by happenstance — a lab next door only had scrap yellow paper on hand.”