He Pumped You Up

Robert R. Taylor died last month. You may not know the name, but you’ve definitely been touched by his inventions. Among other things, Taylor was the creator of SoftSoap, the first liquid soap that people pumped into their hands. “He was just driving to work one day and he had been looking at the soap in the sink and seeing how messy it was and he was like, ‘There’s got to be a way to not have to deal with that.'” Taylor also employed an incredible strategy to keep the big players from borrowing his idea and putting him out of business. He ordered enough little bottle hand-pumps to creat a massive backlog. It took a year before manufacturers could even take new orders from other customers.

+ “I just regret that I was born in a time when most of those mechanical problems had already been solved and what remained were electronic problems.” That’s how Ray Dolby felt about his era. But he definitely left a mark on it (and just about every movie and audio device in the world) with his passion for better sound. Dolby died earlier this week at the age of 80.

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