In the 1930's a young lady encouraged her uncle to help her develop a skin cream. Her name was Este Lauder.
Hallmark took their cards out of the clerks drawer and put them in front of the counter on display racks. Ten years later they would build on that success and remind us that we "Want to Send the Very Best".
3M applied an adhesive to cellophane and "Scotch Tape" was born. In 1937 they established a Central Research Laboratory.
In 1931 a company called Zimmer adds Kirschner nails and Steinman Pins to their product line. Steinman Pins are still used today to help set bones. They responded to the polio crisis with custom leg braces. Their balance sheet is excellent today.
Brown and Root, a struggling road builder, was in the right place at the right time when FDR started building roads and dams.
It took five years for Kimberly Clark earnings to recover to 1929 levels, while they taught us that Kleenex could prevent the spread of colds and supplied moms with a 16 page booklet to help them explain the value of hygiene and kotex sanitary napkins to their daughters.
In 1930 Dupont owned most of GM who owned most of Opel in Europe.
Todays succesful innovators are out there too if we can find them. Will it be AAPL that keeps bringing new products? Or a drought resistant seed from Monsanto? Facebook or the company that uses facebook to reach a generation of kids? Will the company that brings President Obama's rural internet dream to reality do it with cable or fiber optics? With so many choices who is going to upgrade the roads? Will algea replace oil or soy replace synthetics in car seats?
Our kids hope we can figure it out.