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Four inventions that were developed in the garage

Some of the world’s most impactful inventions were made possible thanks to the garage working space. The perfect workshop for inventors and entrepreneurs all over the world, the garage is a rent free and quiet space to let the creative mind free.

The iconic children’s toy, the Etch-a-Sketch, was designed in the garage of French inventor Arthur Granjean. Called the ‘L’Ecran Magique’ which translates to ‘The Magic Screen’, Arthur was impressed with his invention as it was a device used to draw that did not require batteries or pens. The Etch-a-Sketch was originally produced in 1960, and is still in production, and in homes, around the world.

Likely to remain one of the most revolutionary inventions made in the garage, the Apple computer was developed in the Silicon Valley garage of co-founder Steve Jobs. While Steve Woznaik has denied that the original computers were built in the garage, they were finished and tested there – which is close enough! These days Apple products are in the homes of millions of consumers around the world, and we’re willing to bet there’s a few discarded in garages around New Zealand.

Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard met as eager engineering students in the 1930s with a burning desire to start a technology company of their very own. In a small one-car garage, which is now considered the birth place of Silicon Valley, they produced a medical device capable of producing heat and sold it to Palo Alto clinic. After a string of unusual (but highly functional) inventions, in 1939 they decided on the company name, Hewlett-Packard Company – by a coin toss. Today, HP is famous for laptops, desktop computers, printers, scanners and gaming products.

Originally a picture frame company, Harold Matson and Elliot and Ruth Handler founded Mattel out of their home garage in Southern California in 1945. Inspired by her daughter playing with paper dolls, Ruth created Barbies and Friends as a way to maximise their use of materials. By using the scraps left over from manufacturing picture frames to make dollhouses children could use them to play make-believe, imagining roles as college students, cheerleaders, and even adults with careers. Handler aspired to invent a doll that would better facilitate the way young girls were playing with their dolls.

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