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see famous brands and think that they must have always been producing their products as they do it so well. You would be surprised to hear that some of the most famous brands in the world have actually started offering different products or services. In most cases, it only took a vital decision that would boom in today’s trending world of products.

10. Coca-Cola

Photo by Renato Trentin on Unsplash

Even if this is the most well-known brand in the world, not many people know its origin. The famous fizzy drink started off as a medical drug. John Stith Pemberton was a chemist that 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 vast amounts of morphine, therefore he could not stop taking it.

To stop his addiction, he came up with a coca wine which was first introduced in 1885, containing alcohol. As prohibition settled in 1886, he was forced to remove the alcohol from his drink, remaining it Coca-Cola (a non-alcoholic version of the wine coca).

At first, the drink was sold as a medicine for those who struggled 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 response from the public, so much that he decided to make the medicine into a refreshing beverage, removing some of the medical content and replacing it with more sugar and a substitute to sugar which at the 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 company can start in a country and end up being developed in another where it would boom and become the king of the industry for some time. That is what happened with the popular game brand Sega.

In 1940, a man named Martin Bromley had founded a company by the name of Standart Games as it was known at the time in Honolulu/Hawaii. The company started off by making slot machines and music boxes for the military bases within the Pacific.

As the war ended, the company started to slowly decline. In 1952 the American government had 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 a real money maker. In 1965 Bromley sold the company to a Japanese entrepreneur who renamed the company SEGA.

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

8. Twitter

2005 Twitter logo (Source: Public Domain)

Twitter was started 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, gave up on 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 old staff from Oden were a bit concerned with the possible success of this idea, they had faith in the founder of Oden and therefore went with it.

Since 2006 when it was officially launched, Twitter had been constantly growing, becoming one of the most popular social media platforms in the world.


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

NASCAR is the biggest race association in the world and one of the most well-known. Despite all this, its beginnings are dubious, 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 race, but they were the best at it as they were always on the run from police. So, they had to see who was the fastest criminal of them 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 by the name of Bill France started organizing races under the name of NASCAR. The first official race took place in 1948 in Daytona Beach at the beach road course. Its first official race took place in 1949 at Charlotte Fairgrounds Speedway in North Carolina.

6. DuPont

DuPont logo (Source: Public Domain)

DuPont, better known as Teflon nowadays, is the company that makes the most famous pans in the world. You all must have a Teflon pan in the house, the one which is advertised for the food to not stick to the pan.

They are doing them so well that you think that is what they began doing, but you would be surprised to hear that the company actually started by producing gun powder and other explosives. DuPont was founded in 1802 and it focused on gunpowder and other explosives as that is what was on-demand around the world.

It was only until the 20th century that they expanded into a large variety of industries from automotive to even providing plutonium for the Manhattan Project.

5. Samsung

Samsung Logo(Source: Public Domain)

Samsung is one of the biggest electronics companies around the world with over 500,000 workers at a national level that keeps growing. However, it began like this, and neither did the founder, Lee Byung-chul, ever think that his grocery shop would ever reach such success.

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

In 1938 Lee Byung-chul decided to open a small grocery shop in Seoul, South Korea. Over time the market became saturated with a lot of competitors in a small local area. Times became even more difficult as the Korean War broke out in 1950, bringing Samsung to near bankruptcy.

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

4. Raytheon

Raytheon logo (Source: Public Domain)

Most of you probably didn’t hear about this brand as I assume most of you don’t have any business within the military industry, but Raytheon Technologies are the biggest producer of military equipment and weaponry in the private market.

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

It was only until the start of the Cold War that they realized the big bucks were in the weapons market and with such a high demand created by the Cold War they started producing rockets and other military equipment requested by the U.S. government.

3. Procter & Gamble

Procter & Gamble (Source: Public Domain)

Procter & Gamble is the biggest manufacturer of consumer goods in the world today. With 65 different brands being produced under their name and a yearly turnover of $67 billion, it’s no wonder they have been named the fastest-growing company in the world.

To my surprise, this company didn’t have such a peculiar origin. the two founders who hold the names William Procter and James Gamble knew how to produce two very different products. William Procter was a candle maker whilst James Gamble was a soap maker.

The two men were acquainted through their wives who happened to be sisters. Their father in law proposed a partnership between the two. Therefore in 1837, a small shop was opened with the production of soap and candles in the back and selling — you guessed it — soap and candles. As they saw that their business became quite profitable, they started producing other consumer goods.

2. Nokia

Nokia logo (Source: Public Domain)

I believe that we have created a pattern as most of these companies have been founded in the 19th century. Sadly, Nokia is a company that is slowly dying as it wasn’t able to adapt to the change of the mobile phone market and enter the smartphone market quickly enough.

Before smartphones, there was Nokia, mobile phones which were used only for texting and voice calls. However, Nokia’s story is quite interesting. In 1865 Knut Fredrik Idestam who was a mining engineer saw that there was an increasing demand for paper in Europe.

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

The company knew it had to adapt. It took all of its workers from the paper mills and retrained them as electrical engineers. They started producing cables and slowly worked their way up with technological advancements towards the home telephone market, and in the 1980s into the mobile phone market.

1. Adidas

Adidas logo (Source: Public Domain)

I have placed Adidas in the number one spot not because they have the most unexpected origin, but because I am sure that most people are unaware of the history of Adidas. Let me start off with a hint. The founder of Adidas was named Adolf “Adi” Dassler — he was also the younger brother of Rudolf Dassler, founder of Puma.

Adidas was founded in 1924 and it actually started producing different textiles that were in high demand in western Europe at the time. As World War II broke out, Adolf Dassler was forced to make boots for the German Army. After the end of the war, he saw that there was a need for sports footwear. Therefore in the 1950s, he started making trainers and other types of sports footwear, as did his brother. Although they are brothers, they have two separate companies.

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