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10 People Immortalized In Products

This isn’t intended to be an exhaustive list. It’s no more than a quick, random trawl through one personal memory tank. A comparative Wikipedia-based list has almost 100 entries from A to Z, but it was easy enough to think up a dozen important examples left out from that.

Qualifications: there is no obligation for the listed persons to have invented or created the object or process concerned. This is in any case frequently unrecorded, or impossible to verify. So far as is known, none of those listed have had their names immortalized as a result of deliberate theft of another’s work. The objects or processes included must be tangible or tangible processes involved in the creation of objects. A clerihew or spoonerism are abstract word manipulations and so don’t count. The same applies to Morse code and the Farenheit scale. A Caesarian operation might be said to have a product, a baby, but those born in that way do not then have ‘Caesarean’ attached to their names. Finally, and most difficult to assess, the name must have a general application, and not be restricted by sale or lease to one individual or company by patent or other restrictive practice. This would appear to disqualify Doc Martens boots, the mighty Wurlitzer, Gatling, Thompson and Browning guns and the Colt revolver, for example.

A few non-starters were dismissed during research. Sadly, it was found that no such persons as Herr Howitzer or Mistress Furbelow exist! However, the compiler was delighted to find he had a very familiar object named for him: the Spanner.


Lázló Bíró

800Px-Ladislao Biro Argentina Circa 1978

Biro or ballpoint pen

180Px-Bolígrafo Birome Ii Edit

Quick-drying newspaper ink gave Hungarian-born Bíró his primary inspiration for the uniquitous pen that bears his name. He was working in journalism at the time. On discovering the ink would not function in an ordinary fountain pen, he co-opted his brother Georg, a chemist, and between them they developed the now-famous ball-and- socket tip. The invention was patented in 1938. During the Second World War they took up residence in Argentina and filed a second patent in 1943. The design was used effectively in high-altitude combat aircraft at the time, and took off commercially in the years immediately after peace was declared. Ballpoint pens have evolved to become reliable, clean, disposable and amazingly cheap. However, when my grandfather bought me one as a birthday present in 1949, it was made like an expensive fountain pen, boxed like one, priced like one, had a retractable tip and replacement ink cartridges. It also rapidly revealed the grave initial drawback of the design, smothering this particular schoolboy’s fingers, clothes and classwork with proliferating smudges of semi-indelible blue ink!


Robert Wilhelm Eberhardt Bunsen


Bunsen burner


All who have willingly or under duress studied chemistry during their school years will be instantly aware of the piece of fundamental lab apparatus known as a Bunsen burner. For the benefit of those who escaped ‘stinks’, it consists of a round metal base with a vertical open-topped hollow tube connected by a rubber hose to a gas supply. The metal tube has an adjustable air inlet and the gas flow is also adjustable. When the gas is turned on and lit at the top of the tube, it provides a variable flame which can be brought to considerable heat as required for chemical experiments. Well, here’s the guy to blame for it, although you might prefer to hold the Englishman Michael Faraday responsible. He produced the prototype on which the German, Bunsen, based his design. Bunsen is also acclaimed for various other achievements in chemistry.


Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel


Diesel engine

Nobody is going to deny the mainstream importance of this particular French-born inventor and mechanical engineer of German origin and subsequent German residence; or deny they have ever heard of him. After a glittering career in the refrigeration industry was blighted by patent problems, Diesel turned his attention to the production of a more efficient motor than the steam engine and existing combustion engine. His excellent academic trajectory had left him with a keen knowledge of thermodynamics, from which, in 1892, emerged his first compression-ignition engine. With some trepidation as an Englishman, I have to report here that a tyke (Yorkshireman), Herbert Akroyd Stuart, is in fact considered to have invented the compression-ignition engine before Diesel. Apparently he even filed his patent two years earlier. So, all together now everybody, “the Stuart engine”. But, to the victor the spoils, as English football knows, having won the soccer World Cup from the Germans in 1966 by a goal that was not a goal. Diesel disappeared at sea while on his way by steamship to a company meeting in London. Considering the triumph of his system over steam, he might perhaps be said finally to have poured his oil on troubled waters (or was it Stuart’s revenge?). As a curiously modern tailpiece for those becoming more concerned with biofuels in this day and age, Diesel’s original motors ran on … peanut oil! Nothing new under the sun.


George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr.


Ferris wheel or observation wheel

The name Ferris wheel is given to a large, slowly rotating upright wheel of open metal
structure with passenger seats or observation gondolas suspended at regular intervals around it. Modest sized examples are found at local travelling or fixed fairgrounds, larger ones have been created as showpieces for national or international exhibitions. The largest, such as the London Eye, form permanent fixtures on the urban landscape, and carry large numbers of visitors to considerable heights, from where sweeping vistas can be appreciated. As with so many widespread inventions, earlier precursors existed at a local level, the first recorded examples being constructed of wood and perhaps carrying eight or so passengers. These existed in the Ottoman Empire, at least from the 17th century onwards. Ferris, an American railway and bridge engineer, invented and gave his name to his metal wheel (and to all others subsequently) for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. The original was 80 m high and had a capacity of 2160 passengers in 36 cars. It was powered by two steam engines and ran until 1906.

1893FerrGiven his full name, what a wonder it didn’t get called the Washington wheel! As it was, Ferris claimed that the Exhibition organisers had cheated him and the investors out of most of the profits. Like other inventors, he was driven to waste time, money and energy in the courts attepting to claim what was rightfully his by contract. As a rule successful inventors tend to live to a ripe old age. Ferris was one of the unfortunate exceptions. Typhoid fever claimed him early, at 37, a mere three years after his fame was sealed. As a boy I used to holiday every summer with my parents at Folkestone, Kent, and was always drawn to the attraction of a summer fairground there. It had a tower some 30-35 m high, from which a daring stuntman would dive into a ridiculously small container of water, after the manner of Duncan the horse in the Simpsons. I often took trips on its Ferris wheel. Our family has also experienced the spectacular views across London from the Millenium Wheel, or Eye, including as far as the pitch of the professional soccer team we support. What a shame the eponymous Ferris Bueller didn’t joy-ride on one during his cinematic Day Off.


Dr Joseph-Ignace Guillotin

555Px-Joseph Ignace Guillotin


Guillot1Oh, dear. Poor Dr. G. What a terrible object to be immortalised in. Although given her sex, and above all the sobriquet of ‘Madame Guillotine’, perhaps the bloody beheader might better be regarded as the good doctor’s wife! Guillotin, a French medic and politician, did not actually invent the gadget. Unlikely as it might seem too, the impulse that induced it was humanitarian. Up until then a principle object of capital punishment had often been to inflict the maximum pain by breaking the sentenced person’s body as slowly and agonisingly as possible before merciful release by the ending of life. At least once, this so incensed onlookers that they overcame the executioner and released the prisoner. With need for reform in the air, Guillotin proposed a system that would behead instantly and painlessly. Ironically, he was in fact opposed to capital punishment and hoped this would lead eventually to abolition. Happily, he passed away naturally, and did not fall victim to his eponymous death machine. We actually have a tame guillotine in our house. Provided we are careful to keep fingers out of harm’s way, it does nothing more sinister than trim paper to our needs.


W. H. “Boss” Hoover
fl. 1908

WhhooverHoover or vacuum cleaner

HooverOne of the bigger surprises while researching for this list was how little information is readily available for the person whose name is most associated with the vacuum cleaner.
In fact no personal details at all. The main reason is clear. He was little more than an early corporate figure who began manufacturing someone else’s particular design in 1908 once the invention was already well-established. It would make about as much sense to call a computer a Gates. Another quaint twist. Hoover was American. Yet it is the British who turned ‘the hoover’ into an eponymous generic word. It’s rather as if Brits said ‘hovercraft’ while Americans referred to the same machine as a ‘cockerell’ (after it’s English inventor). From an outside perspective, one supposes ‘the Hoover’ for Americans might refer to the 31st pres. or a rather shady figure caught up in events such as the aftermath of JFK’s assassination. For the records, the vacuum cleaner was invented (as a manual machine) in 1868. The actual Hoover prototype with its unique rotating brush was the design of one James Murray Spangler. In fact a classic case of Stigler’s Law of Eponymy, of which numerous examples abound: “No discovery is named after its original discoverer.”


John Loudon McAdam

John Loudon Macadam

Macadam road surface, tar Macadam or tarmac
Our present high-speed motorways and interstates can trace their origin back to the aristocratic second son of the Scottish Baron of Waterhead, sometime resident in the United States. His was one of the first serious advances in major national highway engineering since the excellent initial advances by the Romans. He became involved in this branch of civil engineering due to being an estate owner and turnpike trustee. McAdam’s three essential innovations were to create a solid, compacted, well-drained foundation of rock and gravel; to raise the road surface above the surrounding ground-level, and to incorporate a camber for surface drainage. The major later development was the addition of a sealed, tarred surface. As with so many important inventors or innovators, he scarcely benefited personally from his system, which was rapidly and widely adopted throughout western civilisation. One might even perhaps aptly consider that he was steamrollered politically.


John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich

4Th Earl Of Sandwich

Sandwich, as bread or similar outside with filling between

World Most Expensive SandwichThe placing of a filling between bread had a long and partly accidental history before it was identified and named. Its earliest known example is considered to have been consumed during the Passover feasts of the ancient Hebrews, when unleavened bread similar to Indian chupattis or Mexican tortillas would have been used. The noble Earl himself held various high diplomatic and military posts as was typical for English aristocrats of the time. In public life he was noted for his incompetence and corruption. Sandwich was nevertheless buttered on the clean-cut side too, notably in his laudable and wholehearted support for Captain Cook’s maritime explorations, which landed him the even more solid honour of having the Sandwich Islands named for him. However, when those were renamed the Hawaiian Islands his memory was stuck with the edible double-decker. Various explanations are offered as to how he became associated with this early convenience food. One possibility is that being such a busy man, he preferred to take his meals in that cleaner form at his desk. Another suggestion has it that the dry bread on both sides kept his fingers clean during long gambling sessions of cards without him having to leave the table and wash them at intervals. The bread-based type has in turn led to a few culinary variations such as the sponge sandwich. Philological spin-offs include the sandwich course and being sandwiched between people in a crowd.


Henry Shrapnel

Henry Shrapnel 350Px

Shrapnel shell

Shrapnel2Common logic seems to suggest some eponymous names were inspired by their products, not vice versa. One that comes immediately to mind is Crapper. Surely Thomas Crapper’s name must have been derived from second-hand allusion? Perhaps he was a lavatory cleaner or attendant? Not a bit of it. The unfortunate fellow is forever down among the ordure as a result of his own ‘full-flush’ inventive mind! The same would seem to hold true for another Englishman, Henry Shrapnel. So well-known are the shards of shells called shrapnel, that his family surely acquired its name from them. Not at all. Shrapnel, an active-service army officer, was the inventor. His original design, a spherical cannon shell, exploded in mid-air, showering the enemy with lethal metal. It was the birth of a concept which ultimately led to the infamous cluster-bomb. The system became used early-on to counter the deployment of aircraft in wartime. Allied pilots of WW1 call it ‘Archie’. German shell-smoke was black, allied white. We used to hear A.A. shrapnel showering down on our roof during the Nazi blitz raids of the 1940s, and as small boys would collect the fascinatingly-shaped shiny stuff from the streets next morning. Shrapnel himself was one of the luckier inventors. He received a princely annual award of over $125,000 (today’s equivalent) for life from a grateful British Government.


Luigi Galvani

300Px-Luigi Galvani, Oil-Painting

Galvanised (as iron)

Italy enters the list with the scientist Galvani. A famous experiment with frogs’ legs led him to make the first connection between electricity and the movement of animate life. Thanks to a genial technical dispute with the better-known Volta about the essence and origin of organic electricty, he received from Volta the compliment of a direct current of electricity produced by chemical action being called ‘galvanism’. The dispute also led to Volta producing the first battery, and of course Volta also reaped his share of eponymous fame. ‘Galvanism’ became an outmoded term, but was modified to the words ‘galvanisation’ and ‘galvanised’. These have become a permanent part of our vocabulary for metal plated by electrical process. They have also bequeathed us the figurative phrase ‘galvanised into action’!

Contributor: Spanner-In-The-Works

  • Awesome list! I’ve wondered before why tarmac was called tarmac – now I know. Same with shrapnel.

    It’s good to see the name Spanner-In-The-Works on Listverse again :-)

  • Frank

    Interesting about the guillotine. I’m always reminded of Jean-Paul Marat’s fiery words on the subject, including the always charming “I believe in the cutting off of heads” and “In order to ensure public tranquility, two hundred thousand heads must be cut off”. BTW, no Thomas Crapper?

  • ct305

    Informative list and glad that more obvious choices were left off. Makes me wonder where the name Kleenex came from though.

  • jhoyce07

    i love this site..thanks JFrater! ü more! more! ü i love the ferris wheel,btw..heehee and the shrapnel and sandwicH!

  • jhoyce07

    how about a list for the origins of the names of countries?? haha..just wondering..where czechoslovakia came from..hmm..

  • nyys

    jhoyce07: I really wonder where the word Vatican came from.

  • stewart

    Wonder if the Sandwich has a patent? I am too lazy to google it today. But if it doesnt imagine if you did patent it! If you got 10c in any currency (Except Zimbabwean$)for each sandwich made.. hmmmm

  • nyys: I think the Vatican is named after a mountain? Mons Vaticanus or something like that…

  • Drogo

    The monkey wrench was not named for the animal. The name of the man who invented that type of wrench was Mr. Monkey.

  • astraya

    Come back Spanner! (Of course, if you don’t come back, you won’t get to read this, and if you read this you have already come back.)

  • Mom424

    What a Treat! Great job Spanner. Well written; very entertaining and informative. Faraday is one of my favorites;(I was unaware of the Bunsen connection), can you imagine his contribution had he the benefit of an upper-class education? Then again maybe he would have been stifled by the notions of the day.

  • fivestring63

    I thought I had heard where Diesel was a by-product of making gasoline and was worthless at one time.

    Here’s another. “ohm unit of electrical resistance. XIX. f. name of Georg Simon Ohm, German physicist (1787–1854).”

  • Iain

    Jhoyce07 – there’s plenty of country name origin info on Wikipedia – just type in ‘country names etymology’ into the search engine.
    Roughly “land of the Czechs and Slovaks”, from the two main Slavic ethnic groups in the country, with “Slovak” deriving from the Slavic for “Slavs”; and “Czech” ultimately of unknown origin. Most scholarly theories regard ?ech as a sort of obscure derivative, i.e. from ?eta (military unit).

  • dischuker

    spanner: well done. i am remembering the good earl as we speak in the form of turkey on white.

  • dangorironhide

    Great list, really interesting and well written.

  • Rusty

    Entertainingly written.
    However your aside on Thomas Crapper (#2 Shrapnel)seems to imply that he invented the Flush Toilet or at least gave his name to the verb associated with it. He did not. Crap was a word in currency before his reign as a plumber and although he popularized the flush toilet and took credit for its invention his patents were for the ball cock… oh no I am digging myself deeper in here.

  • stevenh

    Great Read – Excellent research.

    And as a “random trawl through one personal memory tank” – most impressive!

    Thank you, Spanner!

  • Kreachure

    Great list Spanner. For those interested in more cases like these, here are the Wikipedia links referred to in the intro:

    “List of inventions named after people”:

    “List of foods named after people”:

    And for many other things named after people check:

  • Hey Kreachure, do you know whereabouts on wikipedia one would find a list of things named after countries? I looked, no joy though :-(

  • Ghidoran

    Somewhat okay list.

  • alex

    not a very well written list…

  • Elsa

    nice the beaten path.

    On a side note.I have a connection with Guillotin. The first person executed was a Pelletier (My family name). I’m sure he’d have had things turn out differently, but it sure makes for some fun family lore.

  • Kreachure

    Sure thing, Tempyra! Here’s a list of the many words and expressions derived from “toponyms”, which are names of countries, cities, etc. (but mostly cities):

    List of words derived from toponyms!


  • thuss

    lets be one of the first to say that this new list is one of them list wich i dont really get but this website is one of the best.

  • Cymplyirziztbl

    Great List, i always feel a bit smarter when i visit this site!

  • Kreachure: Thanks! I didn’t know the word ‘toponym’, which hindered my search :-D

    (I see you worked out the linky thing too, cool)

  • Callie

    I just finished a book about the 1893 World Fair, there were a good number of chapters devoted to Mr. Ferris. There was also a serial killer operating at the time. Good stuff.

  • Banaas

    coolness! oy, am i thankful for that Earl of sandwitch guy!

  • brittany112

    I was seriously expecting to see the George Foreman grill somewhere on this list ;)

  • Vera Lynn

    Spanner!!! I saw the word in the intro and knew it would be you right away! I didn’t even read the list yet. I wiil do so now. Welcome Back. So glad you changed your mind :) :) :)

  • Hey what about the bell inside your telephone named after Alexander Graham Bell?
    “Just kidding” Actually when I was a little kid I really thought that was true.
    Anyway, this was really an enjoyable and educational list Spanner-In-The-Works.

  • Welcome back Spanner! You have been sorely missed, but at least you return bearing gifts; this fabulous List!
    I was, at one level or another, aware of all of these men with the exception of Lázló Bíró.

    Being “aware” of them doesn’t equal knowing their true involvement with the product which bears their name. As there are fewer things I like more than learning new information, this was a wonderful List to wake up to.

    In school, chemistry was one of my favorite classes , so Mr. Bunsen has been my friend for decades. Getting to learn a bit about his background is a wonderful gift, and makes me want to learn more.

    The information about W. H. “Boss” Hoover was something of a surprise. I had always just assumed he had invented the thing, not just manufactured and sold it! What a let down. It seems unfair that he should be the one immortalized, rather than the actual inventor. Ahhh, but then, who ever said life was fair?

    As to George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., may his name be ever blessed, I love his invention. I simply cannot, and never could, bypass a Ferris Wheel without taking a ride. The bigger the better for me. Growing up, I always had access to the big Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica pier. At the top, and most of the trip down, all you could see was ocean…spectacular!
    Later, during a time I spent working for a professional film lab in Hollywood, one of Ferris’ descendant’s would come in to use our services. I’m one of those people who love to work out, if so-&-so is this age and his ancestor died at such-&-such an age that would make them related in this way. I can usually do this fairly quickly. Although I am almost hopeless at even the most basic math, there are a few types I can do nearly instantly instantly in my head. Totally useless, but fun at parties.
    27. Callie
    I just finished a book about the 1893 World Fair
    Callie, the book to which you refer is The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.
    It is a fantastic book, following the planning and building of the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair, and, as Callie said, also follows the operations of a serial killer working in the area at the same time.

    Spanner-in-the-Works, you have been missed by everyone. What a class act to return by.

  • Brickhouse

    Loved this list! Very informative… One of the few I read every word of. :D

  • dischuker

    #20 and #21: wow, thank you for your well thought out constructive criticism. if you are going to be rude enough to openly criticize something you received for free, at least tell us why you think it is no good.

    buncha no gooders.

  • kowzilla

    One fact that was left off of the section on Diesel is that he only named the engine after himself because his wife insisted upon it. That arguement would be hilarious to overhear.

    ANYWAY, cool list, I enjoyed it alot.

  • sdggrant

    Another cool fact about Dr. Diesel is that he did not develop his engine to run on petrol. Instead it was supposed to run on peanut oil but since petrol was so cheap back then, and considering how hard it was to produce some peanut oil, he started to use petrol.

  • warningdontreadthis

    This is a very impressiv list.

  • Cubone

    Incredible List!! Do a part 2!
    (we’ll name it the “Spanner List”)

  • good list!
    though, i wouldnt want to be #6 haha

  • Beasjt

    From now on I´ll ask for diesel for my Stuart engined car.

  • James

    What, no George Forman?

  • Callie

    Yes! Thank you. I couldn’t remember the title to save my life,(I think work stole my brain today) but it was very well written.

  • Justin

    you forgot the george forman grill.

  • astraya

    Jamie: Is Spanner back, or did he submit this before he left? I am assuming the latter. Several people have said “Welcome back” (presumably assuming the former) but there’s no response from the man himself.

  • I have to say I despise the idea of a george forman grill!

    astraya: He is back – but hasn’t posted on this list.

  • Diogenes

    I was just eating a sandwich on a ferriswheel the other day ,when I had a weird feeling…

    Anyway, aside from all the cheers allready-

    I think the Guillotine is still the most humaine. Aside from the ghastly aspects and history, along with hangings, as being shown publicly (supposibly to thwart criminal ambitions in the onlookers?) I wonder if good ole utilitian means of execution should be randomly reinstated.
    I’ve never been arrested or have been incarcerated, but have known many ex-immates and have been in jails as a fee man. I have seen the old execution room of a New Orleans prison. Pointed out the trap door of previous deaths.
    It seems the walk is the “IT”.
    A Guillotine’s blade weight, heavy, fast and quick.
    In America, State forms of execution without blood or dismemberment, or body evacuations—is softening the blow for the “moral right”, no?

    anyway, something about this all, makes me think of surrogate fathers.
    in a good-upbringing way

  • jfrater, you should have included that in Top 10 Common Errors Made In Cooking.

  • Mom424

    jfrater; They (GF Grill) are useless for grilling. It does not get hot enough to properly brown the meat; it comes out greyish with grill marks. ick. I do find it useful for doing some things. Sausages for a crowd, medium heat top and bottom works quite well. I’ve also used it to cook streaky bacon en mass. Very quick.

  • andy

    gorge foremeth, chicklin on him frie been, gorge foremeth, yes sir ree.

  • 46. Diogenes…I think the Guillotine is still the most humaine…
    That’s sort of an open question, Diogenes. When the head is swiftly separated from the body, there is still blood and oxygen in the brain, which means the brain is, for a few moments to a few minutes, operating, taking in information, including that it is no longer attached to it’s body! Pain would be something of an question, since the nerve have been cleanly cut, but the psychological pain and fear must be enormous.
    Humane? I don’t think so.

  • segue,
    I read the same thing somewhere too. I just looked it up again.
    Nice subject matter eh

  • emmstein

    there are tons of People Immortalized In Products, especially in the fashion industry. Chanel, Versace, Dolce and Gabana (I’m not sure if they’re actual names), etc. Also, how about Kenny Rogers? yum. Anyways, Guillotine is the kewlest

  • Diogenes doofuses unite

    oh man.
    Segue: I just was closing up a real good reply when i messed up something (paws accidentally pressing wrong buttons) , and all was lost!!. It was begining to look brilliant too.
    And i dont usually make long comments.
    oh well.damn
    too bad.
    not in the mood to repeat

  • 53. Diogenes…you are far from a doofus.
    But, if you were refuting my observation about continued awareness post-guillotining, don’t worry. I am correct, as bizarre as it seems. Luckily, the awareness is short-lived, but to have it at all seems terribly cruel.

  • Anderi

    Wow! What a well written and eloquent list!

    Aside from the fact that it’s bloody interesting, I’m blown away by the fact that the author has LIVING FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE of the London blitz!

    You don’t get that much living history on the web…

  • MPW

    Very interesting list. Welcome back Spanner!

  • Vera Lynn

    Emmstein (52) Do you mean “Jolly Rogers”?

  • Vera Lynn

    Spanner! Spanner! Spanner!

  • emmstein

    57. Vera Lynn – I MEAN “Kenny Roger’s Roasters”. It’s owner is Kenny Rogers the singer.

  • Vera Lynn

    emmstein (59) Ok. I had never heard of that. Kenny Rogers the singer, of course. But not Kenny Rogers Roasters. Whatever that is. Sorry. My fault. I take full responsibility. I apologize.

  • Anderi: we are very fortunate on the site to have readers with such a broad background!

  • k1w1taxi

    Cool List Spanner.

    Re: The GF Grill & the KR Roaster I think you will find they would be excluded from the list as per the intro

    Finally, and most difficult to assess, the name must have a general application, and not be restricted by sale or lease to one individual or company by patent or other restrictive practice. This would appear to disqualify Doc Martens boots, the mighty Wurlitzer, Gatling, Thompson and Browning guns and the Colt revolver, for example.

    The story of the Ferris wheel is well worth reading too! And he certainly deserved the money from the Chicago Fair.


  • CRSN

    Spannerintheworks – well done, great list, i had come accross some of these subjects on the net before, but the reaearch that you have doen has answered a hand full of questions :)

  • CRSN

    Vera Lynn (58) – oi! oi! oi!

    sorry, it is the Olympics, my Aussie patriotism.

  • Anon

    First off, I have to come clean. As a whistle.


    one and the same ‘hewman been’, as Winnie-the-Pooh might have said. So I am a kind of LV doppel-gänger. Well no. We’re all doppel-gängers with our nicknames, and our *real* names not known to each other. So I guess my correct German psychobabble term might be drittel-gänger!

    Now our beloved leader (jfrater) knows this, of course, and hasn’t forbidden me to reveal it to my flabberghasted public, so here you are. My sincere apologies to any of Spanner’s kind and concerned supporters who feel they’ve had a mean, sneaky one pulled on them. That never was or has been the intention. There were several reasons why Spanner needed to leave LV temporarily (always with the intention of returning, at least as Listmaker), but when he/I did leave, I didn’t want to shut off options to perhaps make the occasional comment I couldn’t resist meanwhile. Hence the alter ego, Anon. It never was my intention that Anon should be more than a very occasional, low-profile, non-combative, temporary intervention, let alone a take-over act. But you all know LV, how irresistably addictive it is! So there you you are. To paraphrase Lewis Carrol, Anon just growed and growed.

    Well, for some, it may perhaps come as a huge relief that there are/is only one of us.

    It would be both confusing and improper in terms of LV rules for me to switch about simultaneously and confusingly between identities from now on. So my intention is to provide any more lists (if any!) as Spanner, and continue commenting via posts as Anon. Any who are too baffled by this, or wish to to address me in both capacities, try SPANNON!

    Having got that off my jest, now for the real nitty-gritty of this posting.

    Deepest gratitude. You’re all far too kind. (Well, nearly all: but that pair of mavericks have already been duly been slapped on the wrist for me. Again, what can I say?) If facial expression could appear in postings, this would be a delicate shade of pink blush for emotional gratitude at the many friends I have unintentionally and unwittingly found here. (I’ll give the even larger number of enemies a once-off break!)

    Last but not least, heartfelt thanks to Jamie for digging out the illustrations above, and for posting with such phenomenal rapidity and efficiency. If only my researching and writing it up had been so!

    I’ll send off this encomium now and get on with any individual responses to the above comments as a separate posting. Later on, if too tired.

  • Hah :-D

    So very amusing… if a little disappointing that there is now one less intelligent commenter on Listverse (due to the merge of two pseudonyms).

  • Anon

    CRSN (64),

    Good on yer.

    As a Brit living in Chile, I got to see my country of birth’s two golds to date (no more yet?) by the sheer good luck of happening to be looking in randomly at the box exactly when they happened. Wow, were those exciting and dramatic split decisions! And it’s all down to staying up half the night because of LV too. Thanks jfr.

    Like all pessimistic fellow-countrymen when it comes to sport and so many of our standard national performances, I feared we probably might end up with no-gold – tiddly-winks not being included as an official category.

    Well anyway, it compensates for Chile’s so far underwhelming set of results so-far, the two tennis-playing jewels-in-the-crown having been off the boil for a good while as it is.

  • Anon

    Temps (66),

    More thanks, but look at it another way. Those two were always in series, never parallel (until now), so no difference really.

  • Anon:

    But you have retired the Spanner-in-the-Works persona as a commenter? So, one less commenter but another listmaker :-)

  • Anon

    Drogo (9),

    As a spanner, I always had a crush on the monkey wench, of course. Apparently thereis ambiguity here. The tool is noted as having been patented by a certain Mr Moncky, but apparently both the object itself and the term ‘monkey wrench’ were around well before. A very curious co-incidence along the lines of Mr Codd the fishmonger, and all that (see also my notes on Crapper, to follow).

    Astraya (10), and others, of whom Vera (30) and segue (32) must be named, not that any others are any less appreciated:

    Thanks. All now answered.

    Rusty (16),

    Thanks for the firming up of Crapper (hard shit?). I didn’t go too Wiki-deeply into my asides for fear I’d have reason to abandon them, but rather relied on memory and received information. You’re quite correct, of course. Except that Crapper did have a firm in his eponymous business and trade-marked the products accordingly. I had to put him in as an aside since delicacy has resulted in his name not coming into common, eveyday use for the object with which he is associated. Again, considering the pre-existence of crap in its recognised form, it’s truly remarkable how he was attracted to exactly that industry. Like to like, maybe? Who knows. A quick flip didn’t reveal the origin or first recorded use of crap in its basic form.

    Ghidoran (20),

    Always a pleasure to be damned by faint prose.

    Alex (21),

    … and faint criticism. Sorry, it wasn’t written for neolithics either. I find that far too difficult a task.

    Dischuker (34),


    kowzilla (35),

    Thanks for the additional fascinating domestic information. I’ve found mothers as well as wives tend to have this attitude. “It’s your invention, dear. Don’t you dare let them push you around. I’m very proud of you. Now just you insist on giving it your name.” As Groucho began: Behind every successful man is a woman. And as he might have amplified here: Behind her is a pushy wife or pushy mother!
    Sorry girls, no offence intended.

    Cubone (38),

    Actually I submitted a grand total of 35 entries, and jfr selected the 10 he most enjoyed. That left out a few of my own particular favourites, the Mae West, for example, and the Zeppelin. I do appreciate, however, that the former is probably too historically outdated by now, and the latter hardly an object in everyday use. The saxophone too, as we personally knew a direct descendant of its inventor. Various others I hugely enjoyed for the profiles of the people involved. However, it was great fun doing them all, and I learned a vast and entertaining amount in the process.

    Anderi (55)

    Thanks. I shall be delighted to hear you saying that again in 30 or so years time!

    k1w1taxi (62),

    Well spotted, Lee. Your answer is correct, and applies to virtually all the other suggestions mentioned above. Most of them are brand names, etc.

    Tempyra (69),

    In a nutshell.

  • Anon


    Sorry to be so late cutting in. We had a serious deadline yesterday (as it now is), which involved using our one-and-only pc most of the time. Added to that were server and other problems, which turned the whole thing into a bit of a nightmare. We got there in the end. It’s 6.13am here. I’ve cat-napped earlier, but am going to crash now. The olympics will manage without me. See you later.

  • Teapixie

    I love this list. Always fascinating to find out the origins of things that are generally taken for granted.

    P.S. Come on Aussie. Go you big red fire engine!!!!

  • JPtigercat

    C’mon, people! Thomas Crapper, although he was a real plumber, had nothing to do with the flush toilet. That was a creation of (quoting from Wikipedia):

    “Wallace Reyburn is a humorist author who is responsible for a number of well-known urban legends, including the widespread belief that the flush toilet was invented by Thomas Crapper and that the brassiere was invented by Otto Titzling.” (Reyburn wrote the satirical fiction “Flushed with Pride”, as well as “Bust-Up”, about the totally fictional Titzling.)

    (If you doubt Wikipedia’s veracity, a more complete explanation can be found at Snopes, the foremost urban-legend-examination website:

    …it’s highly irregular that such an entertaining post should be marred by such an egregious error.

  • Anon

    JPtigercat (73),

    Have you read my (70) reply to Rusty? It doesn’t seem like it. Or even Rusty’s (16)?

    Go also to: Thomas Crapper Wikipedia. There you’ll find that Thomas Crapper had a great deal to do with popularising the flush lavatory. He ran a firm which sold just those. They were issued with the brand name Thomas Crapper and Company. Besides, this topic is about people whose names were immortalized in, not necessarily who invented, the object in question. Of my 10, only the biro, macadam and shrapnel were uniquivocally invented by their eponym-bearers. I only mentioned, but did not consider including, Crapper, because use of ‘the crapper’ is extremely limited socially, and I mean extremely limited, not everyday. Otherwise he would have had as much right here as ‘boss’ Hoover. Had I included it, I would also have researched and written more thoroughly. I therefore inadvertently allowed in a slight degree of licence in the interests of entertainment. But surely no major post-marring “egregious error”? I hope you’d acknowledge that, plus what was written already by Rusty and myself.

    Please bear something in mind too, all you who criticize legitimately or carp (10 unbeautiful fishes?) unnecessarily. As I have now found out for myself, compiling a list can take up hours and hours and hours of spare (or what would otherwise be work) time, perhaps even days, and IT IS UNPAID. In my case that required the sacrifice of time we can ill-afford for a number of reasons. (And at my age, time is a very precious commodity, I can tell you!)

    If you want to lose listmakers through disillusion, anger and frustration, and thus have a less interesting LV site, that’s the best way to go about it.

    By all means correct facts and contest the validity of entries, but please do so with sensitivity. And be careful first to READ and understand the title information and following comments, which so many don’t. Be absolutely sure of your own own counter-data too.

    Also have the grace to apologise or retract if wrong or over-reacting.

    Thank you.

  • All of the arguments pro and con re: Thomas Crapper remind me, for reasons which are only tangentially aligned, of the name of a boy in my kindergarten class.
    Peter Ramsbottom.
    Poor child.

  • Mom424

    Spanner/Anon; I figured it out over on the abortion view. Your syntax or turn of phrase is as distinctive as it is wonderful. Welcome home!

    Note I kept your secret.

  • astraya

    Anon: A hearty welcome back.

    CRSN: On Sunday after church my wife and I found a large screen in the centre of Seoul to watch Park TH in the 400 freestyle. Immediately before, Libby Tricket won a 100 fly. I let loose “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” in the middle of Seoul, and no-one replied. My wife then pointed out that it was a heat and not a final. 24 hours early, because she won the final the next day anyway. Sth Korea currently ahead of Aus on the tally. Korean tv full of judo, pistol shooting, handball and archery, which aren’t my strong points.

  • Anon

    Mom424 and astraya,

    Thank you both so kindly. I’m truly moved by the reactions. I would never have expected to find such valuable friendships simply by posting on the net. There are certainly times ahead when work and travel will keep me away, perhaps for a good while. Otherwise I shall try to fend off Mr Parkinson & Grimm Reaper, Esq., for as long as I’m able, and keep going here, wishing both myself and LV (and the rest of you) a long and prosperous life. If I’m really pressed for time, as will happen, I’ll at least try to pop in the odd little interjection here and there. The trouble is, I find word *little* so hard to abide by!


    I keep getting caught out by olympic heats results and partial times, thinking them final results too. What a let down that can be.

    I have a long-standing thought about sport. How would results turn out if they represented a common percentage of the population figures? In other words a gold for a country with a million souls would be worth ten golds compared to one from a nation with ten million souls? In that respect, I’ve noticed that small ones such as Switzerland, Sweden and Chile can produce great tennis stars, tennis being an individual sport with one or at most two competitors involved. Team sports on the other hand, which need to incorporate a wide and varied set af talents, inevitably tend much more to go to heavily or mediumly populated countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, US, Germany and Italy.
    In that respect, it has always amazed me that *tiny* Uruguay did so well for so long internationally in the early days of soccer, and still hangs in there effectively.

  • Anon


    Sorry, I meant the good Herr Doktor Alzheimer, not Mr Parkinson. Clearly that former worthy has already possessed me. By lateral thought, I probably had the olympics and poor Muhammed Ali in my subconscious.

  • CRSN

    Astraya – thats fucking classic, i can just imagine a lone aussie in the middle of a whole lot of asians standing up at the spur of the moment (as we do) then having the realisation that it was a heat.

    in perth at the moment we are getting the womens beach vollyball more than anything else, i’m going for the Brazilians :)

  • 80. CRSN
    Astraya – thats fucking classic, i can just imagine a lone aussie in the middle of a whole lot of asians standing up at the spur of the moment (as we do) then having the realisation that it was a heat.
    I’m half aussie, even lived there as a young child. My mums brothers all played Rugby, aussie rules. My youngest daughter, a petite slip of a thing, plays Rugby league, front line, hooker, and would love Rugby to be an Olympic sport.
    Somehow, I doubt than enough nations have enough loonies to play the game…then there are the multiple sets of rules!

  • CRSN

    Seague – good to hear a chick playing rugby, its started to take off again here in WA, more so the Rugby Union than league, league is more of an eastern states thing, we had a team called the Western Reds in the early 90’s but it just wasnt the football code for WA at the time, the team has been resarected recently to play in the national second grade comp.

    But now we have the Western Force Rugby Union team, union is more in line with WA because the amount of ex-pat South Africans who live here and they laugh every time they have to watch a league game, all the stopping and starting and stupid scrum rules (only the number 8’s can compete for the ball, there is bugger all pushing with in the scum from either team, where as union the only rules are dont turn or collapse the scrum)

    I think it would be good if they could introduce maybe an under 23’s or 25’s competition, i think the Island nations like Tonga would be able to get closer to an Olympic Medal.

  • She always tells me about how much she depends on her props (she’s only 5’4″, but very leggy, so a good 8). But you’re comment made me stop and wonder, did she tell me union or league?
    Now I’m not sure, and I’ve been away too long to have seen her play.

  • CRSN

    Ask her if its a stop, start game, or a rolling mual.

    Stop, start = League
    Rolling mual = Union


  • Zippy

    Aww, not the gerber baby???

  • Haiterra Wynde

    No mention of Oliver KY

  • I don’t normally comment on blogs but your post was a real help. Thank you for a great topic, I will be sure to bookmark your site and check it out again. Cheers, Amy xXx.

  • Curious_missy

    OH MY GOD!!!!

    Hershey needs to be on the list lol

  • pooh bear

    send the check 10,000,000.00 to me ok

  • bima

    i always thought shrapnel was miss typed from “sharp”nel metal piercing projectiles, now i know what it is from hehehe

    its almost midterm semester and im still reading LV @ 1:00 in the morning, i cant stop even i should! haha

  • RADA


  • RADA

    skates alot

  • if you are going to include the guillotine,(and the inventor who thought it would end executions) you should have included Gatling who thought his terrible invention would eliminate war.

  • seppe

    it's László Bíró, not Lázló,

  • Glotamarth

    I’m sure the best for you prada cheap , just clicks away

  • Eugene

    You’ve fantastic stuff at this point.

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