Play-Doh was invented in the 1930s to clean coal residue off wallpaper. Of course, it wasn’t called Play-Doh because it was a non-toxic, non-staining reusable compound. Back in those days, most houses had wallpaper versus paint, and the main source of heat was coal. The black coal residue would float in the air (real safe!) and attach to furniture, chairs and also, wallpaper.
It was invented by Noah McVicker of Cincinnati, Ohio. His nephew, Joe McVicker, was taught the business by his uncle.
Pause here. Have you ever had a company or a job that you thought would last forever or a product that would always increase in sales? Have you ever pinned your future on it?
Back to the story. After World War II, coal was used less and less because of the invention called natural gas, which burns clean with no residue. At that time, they also invented vinyl wallpaper that you could wash without destroying it. Result… the product, now known as Play-Doh, was being sold less and less; the family company was at the point of bankruptcy.
The nephew, Joe, was convinced he could save the company from bankruptcy. One day, he was in a nursery school and noticed that the children were using Play-Doh to make Christmas ornaments. He said himself “would you look at that.” The rest of the story is very simple. He took the product to an educational convention and then every major retailer in the country wanted to buy the product. They came up with a way to color the compound so it would be fun for children. The result is the nephew changed the name to Play-Doh and changed his and his family’s economic future with the invention or rather the re-invention.
There are more stories like this (Post-It notes, hula-hoop, computer chip, etc.) than the page will allow. All the stories are about looking at something that seems to have failed only to realize that it was meant to be something else.
Ok, one last short, but true story. In Antwerp, Belgium, in the mid 1800s, there was man who wanted to go digging for diamonds and left his family, home, and all his fortune chasing the dream. He came back home as a failure and his family had a friend over that night that was a diamond expert. The friend wanted to hear about his trip looking for a diamond mine. After dinner, the men were in the living room talking and the diamond expert was standing by the fireplace and noticed a rock the homeowner had found on his property. The diamond expert picked up the old rock and asked the man where it came from. Well, the man said, it came from his field while he was plowing one day.
Do you already know how the story ends? Yes, the rock was a huge diamond and under that farmer’s farm was the largest diamond mine to ever be discovered.
What am I saying here? Sometimes the greatest thing you can do is stay where you are and stay with what you are doing and sometimes God’s shows you something really tremendous. I have always said that one idea from God can change your life in such a way that you cannot even keep your total calculated.
Nearly every major discovery was right in front of the person that discovered it and they couldn’t even see it for a while.
Is everyone going to discover something great and be wealthy? No. But, God can pick up the pieces of your life and mold them together in a way you can’t even imagine. KT