The Electric Flowerpot
At the turn of the twentieth century, Russian immigrant Akiba Horowitz (AKA Conrad Hubert), was working for Joshua Lionel Cowen selling electric fans and the Electric Flowerpot. The electric Flowerpot was a flowerpot with a cylinder attached that contained a small bulb, two batteries, and a switch. You would
switch on the bulb to highlight your plant.
After many failures, Hubert bought the patent for the Electric Flowerpot from Cowen threw away the pot. He sold it as the world’s first flashlight. He later founded the Eveready Flashlight Company. When he died in 1928 he left $6 million to charity. Don’t feel bad about Cowen, he did O.K. too.
Cowen was hired in 1901 by a Manhattan store owner to create a display to call attention to his merchandise in his window. Using his knowledge of batteries and miniature motors, Cowen designed a small electric train. It definitely worked, because the store owner returned the next day to find six orders for the window display trains. By 1902, Lionel was a toy train manufacturer. His trains continue to sell today.
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