Cough remedy and cure for morphine addiction: Product's name is from the German for 'powerful;' USA instituted regulations of this and similar products in 1914
1860s Dr. James Jackson Dr. John Kellogg
Jackson formed 'granula' by breaking up sheets of twice-baked whole grain flour; He sued Kellogg for calling his similar invention by the same name, and Kellogg gave it its present name, but never marketed it.
1920 Chicago lawyer Sebastian Hinton
Hinton modeled his playground structure after one devised by his mathematician father, who had envisioned children learning about three-dimensional space by climbing to specific x, y, and z coordinates.
1930 a trio of Canadian pediatricians
This cereal's name is based on the Latin word meaning 'food' or 'fodder;' It was packed with vitamins and minerals, to help prevent rickets in infants. It was precooked to be easily digestible by children, so its name began to signify 'something insipid, simplistic, or bland.'
1919 George Hansburg
A wooden form of this 'hopping' device arrived from Germany, and Hansburg developed and marketed a metal version. The Ziegfeld Follies used it on stage stimulating a fad of 'jumping' in the 1920s. By 1921, it was being used generically, and is no longer protected by trademark.
Early 1920s Earle Dickson
Dickson's wife grew tired of wrapping her kitchen cuts with gauze, inspired him to invent a simpler, sleeker alternative: sterilized, pre-made adhesive bandages. He offered them to his employer, Johnson & Johnson – whose marketing triumphs included shipping them free to the Boy Scouts. Although the noun is still protected under trademark, the adjective is generic. Since 1970, folks have been using the term to refer to 'a quick-fix solution.'
1901 British manufacturer J. Jaques & Sons
1880s Brits used cigar box lids to bat rounded wine corks across a table. The game quickly gained a number of names, among them, gossima, flim-flam, and also – based on the sounds of the sport – this name. Parker Brothers purchased American rights. (now owned by Escalade Sports). Came to mean a series of usually verbal exchanges between two parties.
1870s Dr. Augustin Thompson
A patent medicine and tonic, advertised as a carbonated beverage with a 'delicious blend of the bitter and the sweet.' By 1930, this name acquired the meaning of 'energy, pep.'
1929s Joseph P. Babcock
The name of this Chinese game with tiles, means 'sparrow.' It became a fad in the 1920s, but Babcock was more interested in promoting the game than in protecting his trademark, and it became a generic term.
1892 British scientist Sir James Dewar
A German company marketed this invention, its name became the generic term for any container with a vacuum between an inner and outer wall that helps its contents retain their initial temperature (rather than cool or warm to the ambient temperature). An American company bought the trademark rights in the U.S. After decades attempting to prohibit the generic use of this word, the company lost its trademark in court in 1962.
1938 DuPont Laboratory chemist
polytetrafluoroethylene resin The name for this stick-resistant cooking surface was used by Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, to describe Ronald Reagan.
1930s Alton Curran
Ironically, the name of this cleaning solvent, developed by a motorcycle enthusiast, has evolved into a term for the kind of greasy matter that the product is designed to remove.
1950s Australian businessman
This ancient toy was transformed by a modern marvel, plastic. It took off, in part because of a catchy name evoking a hip-swiveling Hawaiian dance. The word remains a trademark of WHAM-O, but is widely used as a generic term.
1930s Hormel Foods
This canned meat received its name from a contest. In 1970 Monty Python performed a sketch in which the dialogue, mostly about this product, is obscured by the chanting of Vikings, repeating the name. Inspired by that relentless chant, early e-mail users bestowed the word on the growing clutter in their in-boxes.
1941 Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral
Inspired by burrs that stuck to his clothes on a hunting trip in the Alps, de Mestral named his product with two words meaning velvet and hooks. Astronauts were among the first to use it, but it soon became widely popular. Over-protective parents of college bound children are now described by this term as well. We'll see if that meaning sticks!
1957 Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes
This failed attempt at plastic wallpaper became a highly effective packing material (and addictive source of popping pleasure). The company founded by the inventors still produces it, but the term is also used generically.
1900 Otis Elevator Company
A moving staircase was demonstrated at the Paris exposition. Oddly, although these stairs went up and down, the verb derived from it – which first appeared in print in 1944 – refers only to things rising (both literally and figuratively). Because Otis did little to protect its rights to the mark, a 1950 court ruling moved the term into the public domain.
1700s Scott and Brennan Olson
This is the trademark term for in-line skates, the oldest type of roller skate. In the 1980s hockey-playing brothers brought back in-line skating and trademarked this term.
This trademarked term, it's often used for any 'small motorized recreational watercraft. Other trademarks for similar watercraft include WaveRunner and Sea-Doo.
1940s George Edward Pendray
Pendray coined the word for what his employer, Westinghouse Electric Corporation, called 'the first automatic washing machine that can be wall-mounted.' For years it could refer – somewhat confusingly – either to a single washing machine or to a self-service laundry containing such machines. Westinghouse finally allowed the trademark to expire in 1993. These days, it only refers to the place that contains the machines.