The Woman Who Invented Fidget Spinners Hasn’t Made A Single Dime Off The Craze Despite Millions In Sales Worldwide
Fidget spinners are probably the biggest toy craze since Beanie Babies or Tamagotchi. They’re literally the 2017 version of POGs (and they help you with concentration, allegedly), which means that someone, somewhere is getting rich off a simple plastic ball-bearing gizmo.
Here’s the thing: It just ain’t the person who invented it. The Guardian profile the Florida woman who invented the fidget spinner and held the patent for it for years. She didn’t have the money to renew it in 2005. In a case of coulda, woulda, shoulda, she would have made millions and millions of dollars had the craze exploded like it has now.
Catherine Hettinger should be enjoying the high life.
But the Florida-based creator is not making a penny off her genius invention, even as global sales of the gadget she envisioned two decades ago as a way to entertain her seven-year-old daughter soar into the tens of millions and suppliers struggle to meet massive demand.
Hettinger held the patent on finger spinners for eight years, but surrendered it in 2005 because she could not afford the $400 (£310) renewal fee.
“I just didn’t have the money. It’s very simple,” she said.
Now, while the manufacturers and retailers who are selling the modern-day versions of the toy rack up huge profits, Hettinger, 62, is downsizing from her tiny house to a cheaper condo, wondering whether to get her disconnected telephone line reinstated, and figuring out how to afford “a car that truly works”.
She actually has a great attitude about it. It’s all you can do with the one that got away:
“Several people have asked me: ‘Aren’t you really mad?’ But for me I’m just pleased that something I designed is something that people understand and really works for them,” she said.
“There’s just a lot of circumstances in modern life when you’re boxed in, you’re cramped in, and we need this kind of thing to de-stress. It’s also fun. That’s the thing about culture, once everybody starts doing it, it’s kind of OK.”
Go read the full article over at The Guardian. It goes into fascinating detail about how the must-have toy of the summer was invented back in the day. And hopefully someone making bank off her brainchild throws her a couple bones so she can get that car that works. It’d be a selfless thank you for her bringing such a cool idea into the world.