Year Invented: 1967
Designer: Murray Pletz, Skip Yowell, and Jan Lewis
JanSport came to be through a backpack design competition. An aluminum company sponsored the competition to solicit new backpack designs. Murray Pletz won the competition; with his winnings, he started a new company with his cousin, Skip Yowell, and his girlfriend, Jan Lewis (the namesake of the company). During the '70s, after the company was under new ownership, they started marketing their backpacks more heavily to schools and colleges, and by the 1990s, JanSport was the supplier for almost 30% of backpacks in the U.S.