Inventor: Joseph McVicker, head of a Kutol Products Company, a soap manufacturer in Cincinnati, Ohio
What he was trying to make: In the early 1950s, Kutol created a doughy clay to take off soot in coal-burning homes. But as the Christian Science Monitor reports, people soon switched from coal to gas to warm their homes, and company was headed toward bankruptcy.
How it was created: McVicker learned that his schoolteacher sister was using the "dough" as a modeling clay in her classes. Eureka! It was a toy, not a cleaning product. By 1957, colored Play-Doh was sold at Macy's and hawked on kids' TV shows — turning its creators into millionaires.
Via Drake Baer at Business Insider