Before brands like Apple, Nike, and Nintendo became giants in their industries, they had to start somewhere. The first products released by some companies were immediate success stories, while it took a little longer to reach icon status for others. Here are the first products released by 15 companies before they achieved fame.
1. Nintendo: Hanafuda Playing Cards
Nintendo, the video game brand that launched such 1980s and ’90s-era franchises as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokemon, is actually one of the older companies on this list. It was founded in 1889 as a playing card company based in Kyoto, Japan. The cards (named hanafuda, or “flower cards” for their ornate floral imagery) were popular among the organized crime gangs that inhabited Japan’s gambling halls. The company’s origins are even reflected in its name: When separated into three characters, “Nin-ten-do” roughly translates to “Leave luck to heaven,” or “Work hard, but in the end it is in heaven’s hands.”