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16 Most Famous Products With A Military Heritage

Many of the world’s most famous brands have a military heritage. What Adidas has to do with World War II, and Hugo Boss with Hitler and SS? Check out these 16 most famous products invented for the military.

1. Jeep

1943 Willys Jeep

1943 Willys Jeep

Jeep went into production in 1941 specifically for the military. Willys MB Jeep has become the most widely used 4-wheel-drive vehicle used by the United States Army and the Allies during World War II, as well as the postwar period. Currently, Jeeps are produced by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group.

2. M&Ms


Mars discovered the recipe for M&Ms in the 1930s during the Spanish Civil War. Forrest Mars, Sr., son of the founder of the Mars Company Frank C. Mars, noticed soldiers eating chocolate pellets called Smarties, with a hard shell of tempered chocolate surrounding the inside, preventing the candies from melting. Mars received a patent for his own process on March 3, 1941. Production began the same year in the factory located in Clinton Hill, Newark, New Jersey. The two “Ms” represent the names of Forrest E. Mars Sr., the founder of Newark Company, and Bruce Murrie, son of Hershey Chocolate’s president William F. R. Murrie, who had a 20 percent share in the product.

3. Vodafone

Vodafone stand at GSMA Barcelona

Vodafone stand at GSMA Barcelona

Vodafone began its life in 1982 a subsidiary of Racal Electronics plc – UK’s largest maker of military radio technology at the time. Today, Vodafone is the world’s 2nd-largest mobile telecommunications company measured by both subscribers and 2013 revenues (behind China Mobile). It operates in 21 countries and has partner networks in over 40 additional countries.

4. Aquascutum

 Cary Grant wearing Aquascutum

Cary Grant wearing Aquascutum

Aquascutum was founded in 1851 and produced water-repellent grey raincoats for British army officers during the Crimean War. The brand’s name is a combination o Latin words “aqua,” which means water, and “scutum,” which can be translated as shield.

5. Ray-Ban

The history of the Ray-Ban sunglasses begins in the 1930s. US Army Air Service pilots were reporting that the glare from the sun was giving them headaches and altitude sickness. In 1929, US Army Air Corps Lieutenant General John MacCready asked Bausch & Lomb to create aviation sunglasses that will protect pilots from the glare. The prototype was created in 1936 It had green, anti-glare lenses that didn’t obscure pilots’ vision.

6. Kotex

A Kotex newspaper advertisement from 1920.

A Kotex newspaper advertisement from 1920.

The idea for Kotex sanitary pads came from the army nurses who worked at the front of World War I. The nurses adapted medical gauzes meant for treating wounded soldiers, for menstrual purposes. Shortly after the war, Kimberly-Clark company began selling feminine hygiene products under the name Kotex.

7. Super glue

Super glue was discovered in 1942 when a team of scientists were looking for to make clear plastic gun sights during World War II. The team headed by Harry Coover Jr., came across a material that stuck to any other material it contacted, but it was rejected because it was too sticky. In 1951 cyanoacrylates were rediscovered by Eastman Kodak researchers Harry Coover Jr. and Fred Joyner, who recognized their true commercial potential; “Eastman #910” (later “Eastman 910”) was the first cyanoacrylate adhesive to be sold, in 1958.

8. Victorinox


The company was founded in 1884 and began delivering knives to the Swiss army since 1891. In 1909, the mother of founder Karl Elsener died. In order to honour her, Karl named the company “Victoria” and put famous emblem—a cross in a shield, on knives. In 1921, the company started to produce knives using stainless steel. The company name has been changed to the present “Victorinox”, which is a combination of the old name “Victoria” and the French term for stainless steel “acier inoxydable” (“Victoria”+”Inox”).

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Geralt Nowak

There will be something about me. I'm too lazy now.

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