10 famous brands with an unexpected history

seeing famous brands and thinking that they always had to make their products the way they do so well. You would be surprised to know that some of the most famous brands in the world have started offering different products or services. In most cases, it only took one vital decision that would explode into today’s trending product world.

Photo by Renato Trentin on Unsplash

Even though it is the most famous brand in the world, few people know its origin. The famous soft drink started out as a medical drug. John Stith Pemberton was a chemist who fought in the Civil War. After the war, due to his injuries, he became quite addicted to morphine. Working in a pharmacy gave him access to large amounts of morphine, so he couldn’t stop taking it.

To stop his addiction, he invented coca wine which was first introduced in 1885, containing alcohol. When Prohibition set in in 1886, he was forced to remove alcohol from his drink, remaining Coca-Cola (a non-alcoholic version of coca wine).

At first, the drink was sold as medicine for those struggling with drug addiction, but its interesting taste quickly caught the attention of the public. The first time Coca-Cola was advertised was in the Atlanta Journal on May 29, 1886.

Pemberton was impressed with the public response, so much so that he decided to turn the drug into a refreshing drink, removing some of the medical content and replacing it with more sugar and a sugar substitute that time was cocaine. Therefore, on January 29, 1892, the proper Coca-Cola Company was launched.

Sega logo (Source: public domain)

It is interesting how a business can start in one country and end up growing in another where it will explode and become the king of the industry for a while. This is what happened with the famous game brand Sega.

In 1940, a man named Martin Bromley founded a company called Standart Games as it was known in Honolulu/Hawaii at the time. The company began by manufacturing slot machines and music boxes for military bases in the Pacific.

When the war ended, the business began to slowly decline. In 1952, the US government banned slot machines. Bromley’s main goal was to export slot machines to Japan, where at the time they were in high demand. The export was successful, but never really made money. In 1965 Bromley sold the company to a Japanese entrepreneur who renamed the company SEGA.

SEGA turned to hardware components and, in the 1980s, to the video games that made them famous and incredibly successful.

Twitter logo 2005 (Source: public domain)

Twitter was launched due to the decline of the old podcasting platform known as Oden. Oden was the popular thing before iTunes came into play. Jack Dorsey, the founder of Oden, quit the company and started working on a new project.

This project was based on a social media platform with short messages such as SMS, but online as he saw it at the time. Although the former staff of Oden were a little concerned about the possible success of this idea, they had faith in the founder of Oden and therefore went with it.

Since its official launch in 2006, Twitter has grown steadily, becoming one of the most popular social media platforms in the world.

Nascar’s first official race in 1949 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

NASCAR is the largest racing association in the world and one of the best known. Despite all this, its beginnings are uncertain, or at least the reason why this association was founded in the first place.

The first races in America were organized by criminals. It wasn’t illegal to run, but they were the best because they always ran from the police. So they had to see who was the fastest criminal of all. Besides being a good driver, you also had to know the car and the roads.

The competition attracted so much attention that a businessman named Bill France began organizing races under the name NASCAR. The first official race was held in 1948 at Daytona Beach on the beach road course. Its first official race was in 1949 at Charlotte Fairgrounds Speedway in North Carolina.

DuPont logo (Source: public domain)

DuPont, better known as Teflon these days, is the company that makes the most famous cookware in the world. You all must have a Teflon pan in the house, the one advertised so food doesn’t stick to the pan.

They make them so well that you’d think that’s what they started out doing, but you’d be surprised to know that the company actually started out producing gunpowder and other explosives. DuPont was founded in 1802 and focused on gunpowder and other explosives because it was in demand around the world.

It wasn’t until the 20th century that they expanded into a wide variety of industries, from automobiles to supplying plutonium for the Manhattan Project.

Samsung logo (Source: public domain)

Samsung is one of the largest electronics companies in the world with over 500,000 workers nationwide and growing. However, it all started like this, and founder Lee Byung-chul never thought his grocery store would ever be so successful.

Samsung grocery store in Seoul in the 1940s (Source: Public domain)

In 1938, Lee Byung-chul decided to open a small grocery store in Seoul, South Korea. Over time, the market has become saturated with lots of competitors in a small local area. Times got even tougher when the Korean War broke out in 1950, bringing Samsung to the brink of bankruptcy.

To save the business, Lee decided to produce what was in demand at the time, i.e. sugar and textiles. In the 1960s, Samsung entered the electronics market and dominated it overnight.

Raytheon logo (Source: public domain)

Most of you probably haven’t heard of this brand because I guess most of you don’t have any business in the military industry, but Raytheon Technologies is the biggest producer of equipment and accessories. military weapons on the private market.

What is interesting is that one would expect such a business to be started by veterans or former CIA agents with good connections or real weapons experts. As you would expect, the answer is very different. The company was founded in 1922 by Vannevar BushCharles Smith and Launcernce Marshal who started producing microwaves and refrigerators.

It wasn’t until the start of the cold war that they realized the big bucks were in the arms market and with such demand created by the cold war they started producing rockets and other military equipment requested by the US government.

Procter & Gamble (Source: public domain)

Procter & Gamble is today the largest manufacturer of consumer goods in the world. With 65 different brands produced under their name and annual sales of $67 billion, it’s no wonder they were named the fastest growing company in the world.

To my great surprise, this company did not have such a particular origin. the two founders who bear the names William Procter and James Gamble knew how to manufacture two very different products. William Procter was a candle maker while James Gamble was a soap maker.

The two men knew each other through their wives who happened to be sisters. Their stepfather proposed a partnership between the two. That’s why in 1837 a small shop was opened with soap and candle production in the back and selling – you guessed it – soap and candles. Seeing that their business was becoming quite profitable, they began to produce other consumer goods.

Nokia logo (Source: public domain)

I think we created a pattern because most of these companies were founded in the 19th century. Unfortunately, Nokia is a slowly dying company as it has not been able to adapt to the changing mobile phone market and enter the smartphone market fast enough.

Before smartphones, there was Nokia, cell phones that were only used for texting and voice calls. However, the history of Nokia is quite interesting. In 1865, Knut Fredrik Idestam, who was a mining engineer, saw that there was a growing demand for paper in Europe.

He founded Nokia and built a stationery in Finland near the city of Tampere. The company became the market leader in paper. During the 1950s, the paper market became saturated, with such local competition that Nokia was on the verge of bankruptcy.

The company knew it had to adapt. It took all of its paper mill workers and retrained them as electrical engineers. They started out producing cables and slowly progressed with technological advancements into the home phone market and, in the 1980s, into the mobile phone market.

Adidas logo (Source: public domain)

I put Adidas number one not because they have the most unexpected origin, but because I’m sure most people don’t. Let me start with a hint. The founder of Adidas was called Adolf “Adi” Dassler – he was also the younger brother of Puma founder Rudolf Dassler.

Adidas was founded in 1924 and started producing different textiles which were then in great demand in Western Europe. When World War II broke out, Adolf Dassler was forced to make boots for the German army. After the war ended, he saw that there was a need for sports shoes. That’s why, in the 1950s, he started making sneakers and other types of sports shoes, just like his brother. Although they are brothers, they have two separate companies.

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About Alex S. Crone

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