Things We Didn't Realize Were Named After The People Who Invented Them



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Over 500 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of Things We Didn't Realize Were Named After The People Who Invented Them
Voting Rules

Vote up the most surprising namesake inventions.

Some products are so ubiquitous that their names are taken for granted. Have you ever stopped and thought what “Pilates” means? What about “nachos”? Or even “saxophone”? 

It turns out that those products - and many others that are household and cultural staples - were named after their creators.

  • 1
    433 VOTES

    Ignacio 'Nacho' Anaya García Invented Nachos In The Spur Of The Moment

    Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya García (1895-1975) was working at a restaurant in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, near the American border, when a gaggle of US Army wives overwhelmed his capabilities. He needed a lot of food in a short amount of time, so according to his son Ignacio Anaya Jr.

    He went into the kitchen, picked up tostados, grated some cheese on them - Wisconsin cheese, the round one - and put them under the salamander (a broiler that quickly browns foods). He pulled them out after a couple minutes, all melted, and put on a slice of jalapeno.

    What emerged were Nachos especiales - Nacho's specials - and they became one of the most popular snacks in North America.

    433 votes
  • Burpees Aren’t Called That Because They Make You Burp
    Photo: Iryna Inshyna /
    445 VOTES

    Burpees Aren’t Called That Because They Make You Burp

    Although you may bump your stomach during this full-body exercise, a “burpee” has nothing to do with burps, nor is it simply a nonsense word. In fact, the person for whom it was named has a decidedly dignified moniker.

    Physiologist Royal Huddleston Burpee Sr. (1897-1987) created the exercise in 1939 as part of his applied physiology degree at Columbia University Teacher's College. It was supposed to be a simple test to determine one's fitness level, and not intended to be performed more than four times.

    445 votes
  • Antoine-Joseph “Adolphe” Sax (1814-1894) survived a life of disasters to create one of the coolest instruments. While young, the brash Belgian nearly died a dozen times from freak accidents, including ingesting sulfuric acid, swallowing a needle, and being struck in the head by a brick. 

    Brash turned brass when Sax grew up and invented the instrument that bears his name. It achieved popularity in military bands and then in mainstream music. He also invented the saxtuba, saxhorn, and saxotromba. How saxy!

    345 votes
  • The Jacuzzi began as a treatment for the ill son of an Italian immigrant whose surname was misspelled at Ellis Island.

    In the 1950s, Candido (Iacuzzi) Jacuzzi developed a hydrotherapy pump to soothe the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms of his 15-month-old son Kenneth; the device could be used in an ordinary bathtub. Jacuzzi later took it to market as a therapeutic device, but in 1968 it became a pool meant for relaxation

    362 votes
  • Jules Léotard Was Deceased When His Name Became A Uniform
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
    335 VOTES

    Jules Léotard Was Deceased When His Name Became A Uniform

    The name of his ubiquitous, form-fitting garment comes from pioneering French acrobat Jules Léotard (1838-1870), who performed in a sleeveless form-fitting one-piece outfit he called maillot (French for an undershirt or sports shirt).

    Unlike most of the names on this list, this one didn't become popular until after its inspiration's passing. Léotard succumbed to an unknown infectious disease in 1870, and his eponymous garment entered the lexicon in the 1880s. It would go on to adorn gymnasts, dancers, wrestlers, figure skaters, and miscellaneous performers across the world.

    335 votes
  • 6
    296 VOTES

    The Popsicle Was Invented By An 11-Year-Old Who Became 'Pop'

    In 1905, 11-year-old Frank Epperson of California mixed water and powdered sugar with a stir stick and accidentally left the concoction outside. The temperature dipped below freezing, so when he found his mixture it was solid - and had a handle. He called the conical treat an Epsicle.

    When he reached adulthood, he patented the Epsicle but changed its name to Popsicle because his children knew it as their Pop's 'sicle. That's the official story, but it seems more likely to be a simple portmanteau of “lollipop” and “icicle."

    296 votes