adventures of a military family

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7 commercial products invented by the military include GPS, duct tape and Silly Putty

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The U.S. military spent over $42 billion in research and development in 2018. Though a lot of the funding tends to proceed to weapons programs, a whole lot of military R&D frequently ends up also having civilian applications.

Army programs which operate on new technology, materials, or gadgets have over the years contributed to the maturation of several consumer end products, substances used in customer applications, medical devices, and even more. Some of the products are still manufactured in the USA .

In fact, a few of the most widely used commercial products now were originally developed for the purpose of defending the nation or were a byproduct of military study. 24/7 Wall St. identified 15 commercial products which are a direct consequence of military study.

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The United States is the world’s largest market and it spends by far the most on its military. This includes substantial investments in R&D, whether through the military’s own research bureaus or through contracts with private businesses — known as the military-industrial complicated. This connection is still going strong, since there are dozens of businesses making more than $1 billion in military contracts.

Undershirts
• Date invented: 1904

People have been wearing undergarments of one kind or another for thousands of years. However, it wasn’t till they had been made a part of the official Navy uniform in 1905 that cotton, T-shaped undershirts were widely produced or worn. The pullover T-shirt functioned as a simpler alternative to higher-maintenance conventional button-up shirts. The convenience and practicality of these garments appealed immediately to the military. In the instance of undershirts, their usage from the Navy popularized the expression crewneck shirt.

Feminine hygiene products
• Date invented: 1914

The earliest evidence of tampon-like female hygiene products dates back to Europe from the 18th and 19th centuries, but the contemporary tampon has its origins in World War I. Until the 1920s, there was no ubiquitous kind of menstrual absorption goods, and lots of women relied upon home made products. Throughout World War I, a cheap alternative padding was designed when a cotton provide shortage increased the requirement for different kinds of cheap bandaging. Under a government contract, Kimberly-Clark Co. managed to fabricate cellucotton, an absorbent material made from wood pulp. The substance caught the interest of Red Cross nurses, who started to use cellucotton wads during puberty. While today it’s estimated that 70 percent of women of menstruating age use tampons, many drug and department stores originally refused to take the Kotex pads due to sensitivity to the issue.

Aviator sunglasses
• Date devised: 1930s

Nowadays an iconic fashion item, the feature shape and dark lenses of aviator sunglasses were necessary protection for evaluation pilots subject to the dangerously bright sunshine of the upper air. In the 1930s, optics manufacturer Bausch & Lomb developed aviator goggles under the direction of the U.S. Army Air Corps. Bausch & Lomb rebranded the sunglasses in 1937 as Ray-Ban — since they exude the sun’s beams — and sold them to the civilian inhabitants. The glasses were further popularized by Hollywood stars in the 1950s, and the cultural vanguard continued to wear them during the years.

Jeep
• Date devised: 1940

In World War II, the U.S. Army had a demand for a light reconnaissance car and asked automakers to come up with prototypes and submit suggestions. The government chose the layout of American Bantam automobile company — a four-wheel drive car with a top speed of 65 mph. The car’s namesake, General Purpose, was abbreviated to G.P. and finally nicknamed jeep. The jeep proved a priceless contribution to the U.S. military effort, with then-General Dwight D. Eisenhower saying that”America could not have won World War II without it.” The company manufactured over 600,000 jeeps through the war and later sold the postwar surplus to the public fairly cheaply. While the military use of jeeps has dwindled since World War II, U.S. earnings of the Jeep Wrangler — that bears many of their design characteristics of the first — was over 240,000 in 2018.

Aerosol insect spray
• Date devised: 1941

In World War II, soldiers stationed in the South Pacific needed a simple way to kill mosquitos, which could possibly carry malaria. The first aerosol can was patented in 1941 and nicknamed “bug bomb” by soldiers. The partnership between the USDA and the DOD has afforded other life threatening innovations, including the use of DDT in controlling typhus. In 1949, engineer and veteran Robert Abplanalp improved a cheaper plastic aerosol valve intended for industrial mass production. He began the Precision Valve Corp. to market the creation and turned a profit almost instantly. The aerosol can has ever since been refined and is currently less detrimental to the environment.

Duct tape
• Date invented: 1942

During World War II, the U.S. army was in need of a durable adhesive tape that could maintain its bond under harsh field conditions. The military asked Johnson & Johnson Co. to create the idea and initially called it duck tape for its watertight nature. Civilians began to use the item heavily during the postwar housing boom, as it had been used to secure central heating and air systems. Duck tape has been used in ductwork so it was renamed and recolored to match the silver metallic colour of HVAC systems. Known for its flexible uses, duct tape has lately taken on another life as substance used in a variety of personal products, including wallets, bags, and telephone cases. Multiple businesses, such as Scotch and Duck Brand, today manufacture duct tape. Click here for Military Grade

Super Glue
• Date devised: 1942

Eastman Kodak was among several companies that led to the war effort during World War II. In 1942, while testing a variety of compounds for use in a plastic rifle sight, Dr. Harry Coover a firm chemist, unintentionally created cyanoacrylate, a chemical later promoted as Super Glue. The material was incredibly durable but has been dismissed for being too sticky. When a colleague was testing cyanoacrylate nine decades later, Dr. Coover had another experience with the material. As the colleague whined the chemical destroyed his equipment, Coover recognized its commercial potential. Super Glue was first sold as a commercial item in 1958. The item was eventually adopted by military surgeons during the Vietnam War, who would spray it over wounds to stop bleeding immediately.

Updated: June 3, 2020 — 1:40 am

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