Garage Greatness

Garage Door Greatness Blog A Plus

Garage Greatness is a running blog series, updated every Monday, about companies and inventions that originated in garages. The garage is the perfect climate for innovation, and many of the companies that shape our world today come from simple origins inside a garage, including Google, Apple, Amazon, Mattel, and Disney, among many others. Garage Greatness explores how these companies were founded and the specific conditions that led to them using a garage for their early operations.

The Rise and Fall of Dell, Inc

The Rise and Fall of Dell, Inc

There are very few consistent details between all of the companies that we’ve featured on Garage Greatness. Sometimes, the people responsible for these international powerhouse companies don’t pursue their passion until later in life. Sometimes, they spend years or decades toiling with their idea before finding worldwide success. Sometimes, these companies are momentary successes that then see their sales decline, dropping in popularity as time passes them by. None of these are true about the company we’ll be examining today, Dell Inc. Dell had a mercurial rise to success, going from an unknown name with $1,000 of startup money to being the 51st company in the Fortune 500 list in 2014. And just like the rest of the companies that we’ve covered, Dell got their start in a garage. The year was 1984, the place was Austin, Texas, and the mind behind the company, Michael Dell, wanted to fill an expanding niche in the consumer computers market.

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Inventing the Cat Flap: Newton or Not?

Inventing the Cat Flap: Newton or Not?

Hello readers! On this installment of Garage Greatness, we’re going to be exploring the dubious claim that Isaac Newton himself invented the cat door while in the garage! Although this claim is interesting and would certainly make for a good story, many people doubt that it is true, so we will also be discussing the other potential origins of the cat door. Having specialized doors for your pets is a very old idea, and tracking the exact origin is difficult, but we have done our best to verify the information we’re bringing you. We bring the same reliable and dependable service to our blog that we bring to our residential and commercial garage door installation and repair services.

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Etch A Sketch: The Timeless Toy

Etch A Sketch: The Timeless Toy

There are certain timeless toys that are universally associated with childhood – dolls, action figures, building blocks, and so on – but there is one common toy that very few users understand. The enigmatic Etch A Sketch has an elegant design and has remained mostly unchanged for over fifty years, but the simple secret behind its magical erasable screen is not the ultimate reason for the toy’s success. The real reason that the Etch A Sketch has remained an unchanging cultural icon for the better part of a century is that it appeals to children of every background, of every level of artistic aptitude. The Etch A Sketch is an icon, and like many other great icons that we’ve explored on Garage Greatness, it was first invented in a garage.

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Richest Man Alive

Richest Man Alive

There are only a few names that are as synonymous with an industry as Microsoft is with personal use software. Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office are two of the most widely used pieces of software in the world, and for years Windows was the undisputed king of operating systems – Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, and other Office softwares are still the most widely-used solution in their respective fields, with consistent usage by school-aged children and business owners alike. But Microsoft, like many other great companies, comes from humble origins. Bill Gates, the single man most responsible for Microsoft’s success and the wealthiest person in the world, built Microsoft to capitalize upon the success of his early forays into software development. Today, Microsoft is a household name across the world, but at the beginning of this story, Microsoft’s founders were meeting in a California garage for the first meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club.

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Dyson’s Innovative Vacuum Solution

Dyson’s Innovative Vacuum Solution

Dyson is a symbol of innovation around the world, but they got their humble start in a garage, just like so many other important companies of today. James Dyson, the inventor behind the company’s rise to fame and the continuing sole owner of the company, started working on a new way to vacuum after realizing that his Hoover Junior was losing suction over time, as the bag filled with dust and the mesh became clogged. Over 5000 prototypes later, Dyson implemented centripetal cyclones similar to those used in sawmills and build the G-Force, a revolution of a vacuum cleaner that propelled Dyson into the very lucrative vacuum cleaner industry. Now, Dyson sells to over 70 countries, produces vacuum cleaners, hand dryers, fans, and heaters, but the company continues to push the entrepreneurial inventor mindset that it was founded on. All of this, from Dyson’s early prototyping efforts in the coach house attached to his home in Cotswolds, England.

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Harley-Davidson: American Excellence

Harley-Davidson: American Excellence

Garages are notoriously loud, since hobbyist mechanics and garage bands tend to use the garage specifically for making noise. With a private workshop sectioned off from the rest of the house, these backyard innovators had all the space (and muffling walls) they needed to practice their craft without disturbing their family. Of course, some garage inventors want to make noise, like the Davidson brothers and their friend William S. Harvey. These four inventors, all born before 1882, tinkered in a shed behind their friend’s property and ended up inventing a product that would revolutionize American roads and become one of the most iconic examples of any industry – The Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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Garage Greatness: Building Your Own Nest

Garage Greatness: Building Your Own Nest

How often do you adjust your home thermostat? Many thermostats are outdated eyesores, installed by contractors who are more interested in getting the lowest possible bid than they are in the comfort of their home’s future inhabitants. Also, most homeowners use their thermostat in an inefficient way, and since home temperature control accounts for as much as 10% of total energy usage in the US, even just slightly wasteful habits can mean hundreds of dollars of cost for each household – hundreds of millions, across the country. Tony Fadell is the man behind Nest, the smart thermostat that is designed to solve these problems, and he is more qualified than anyone to create cutting edge technology: before he was prototyping a thermostat in a Palo Alto garage, he was creating the iPod and iPhone at his previous executive position with Apple.

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Ring a Bell: Alexander Graham Bell Invents the Telephone

Ring a Bell: Alexander Graham Bell Invents the Telephone

Alexander Graham Bell lived from 1847 until 1922, and in those years he had a remarkable life of innovation and advocacy. He is best known for being the first person to patent a practical telephone, one of the greatest innovations to human communication of all time, but in his life Bell also addressed many other areas of interest to him, mostly regarding deafness and elocution. Bell’s legacy shaped human history and his inventions were critical to the continuing progress of technology, but what is commonly forgotten about his work is that he got his start in the garage – or, to be more accurate, the carriage house!

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3 More Garage Band Success Stories!

3 More Garage Band Success Stories!

There isn’t always an easy solution to a loud home. With children, television, and the rumbles or beeps that come with any appliance, finding peace and quiet in your home can be difficult. Many of these noises are unavoidable, but sometimes the secret is fairly simple. Loud hobbies or guitar practice are typically sent to the one room in the house where noises can be separated from the rest of your living space – the garage. This tradition, practiced by hobbyist woodworkers and middle-school bandmates alike has given rise to many of the greatest bands of all time. Last Monday, we looked at four chart toppers that begun playing together in the garage – The Who, Nirvana, Ramones, and The Kinks. Today, we’re going to continue the trend by talking about the origins of The Runaways, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and The Yardbirds. These three classic artists begun playing together in the garage, and from there successfully moved into performing packed amphitheaters around the world.

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