Pushing the Boundaries of Design

Innovation often arises out of crossing disciplines and combining technologies. That's the focus of our look at ten cutting-edge designers

The Frisbee. The escalator. Reinforced concrete. These very different inventions share one thing in common: They weren't invented exactly—each was borrowed from an unrelated field. The flying toy was inspired by the metal pie tins of the Frisbie Baking Company that college students of yore tossed for fun. The escalator was originally conceived as a Coney Island amusement ride. And reinforced concrete was first patented in 1848 by a French gardener trying to develop a better flowerpot.

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