This is one of my favorite stories about how a smart and creative salesman along with his wife created a very successful product that began as a door opener . . .
A 1917 San Francisco door-to-door salesman, Edwin W. Cox sold the new highly touted aluminum cookware. However, because it was difficult to get into the kitchens to demonstrate his products, he found sales were mediocre. He needed a gimmick, a free introductory gift, allowing him to display his line.
Experimenting with small, square steel-wool pads hand-dipped into a soap solution, Cox discovered that the yet-named pads opened doors and boosted sales. Within a few months, demands for the pads out-grew Cox’s ability to dip and dry them in his kitchen. He stopped selling pots and pans and went into the business of manufacturing soap pads. Turning to his wife for a name, Mrs. Cox responded with “S.O.S Pads,” meaning “Save our Saucepans.” The product had a name that stuck.
You may not notice that the product name “S.O.S Pads” leaves out the period after the final “S.” A mistake? Nope. Cox wouldn’t be able register the name if it included the final period as that was already in the public domain. His “S.O.S” could be officially registered, however.