Sunday, August 24, 2008

An Unexpected Education

You never know when - or where - you're going to learn something new. 

Case in point: I learned something new while on vacation this summer, thanks to our gracious hosts. After showing us around their oh-so-comfy home, they took us on an aquatic tour of their lovely neighborhood. It was during this most relaxing journey that they mentioned the neighborhood's claim to fame: a residence of the family of the man who invented...

...kitty litter. That's right. There is an actual person responsible for the ingenious waste disposal material used by hundreds, thousands, and probably even millions of house cats everywhere. That person's name is Edward Lowe.

It all started back in 1947, when he worked for his father's industrial absorbents company. Lowe's neighbor, Kaye Draper, came by and asked to buy some sand. She wanted to use it in her cat's box, instead of the soot which she had been using, but which her cat tracked all through her house. He offered her granulated clay, instead. She tried it, and it worked so well, she never used anything else after that.

Figuring he was onto something, Ed Lowe filled ten brown bags with clay, wrote "Kitty Litter" on each of the five-pound bags, and approached a local pet store owner. When the store owner doubted his customers would pay 65 cents a bag for clay when sand was so much cheaper, Lowe said, "So give it away."

The gamble paid off, as cat owners not only asked for more, but were totally willing to pay for it, thrilled with its odor control and absorbency. And so, the Kitty Litter business was born. Lowe started visiting cat shows and pet stores across the country, selling Kitty Litter from the back of his car. He also continued to experiment with additives to improve Kitty Litter. Soon, he created Edward Lowe Industries, Inc. to mass manufacture and distribute his popular invention.

In 1964, Edward Lowe created the Tidy Cat brand of kitty litter, or "cat box filler," to use the correct generic term. (Kitty Litter vs cat box filler is a Band-Aid vs adhesive bandage or Kleenex vs tissue kind of thing. See? Bet you didn't know that.)

Edward Lowe became a multi-millionaire. 

And he owed it all to a soot-tracking cat.

You never know when - or where - you're going to learn something new. What did you learn today?


1 comment:

  1. Hey! Love your new blog format...been gone for awhile so I'm not sure when you updated it. Looks good. Hope your writing is going well.


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