Founder: Charles Macintosh
Year Founded: Patented 1830

How important is a single innovation? It's a question we struggled with as we compiled this list. Adding Mackintosh, though, was an easy choice. Only relatively recently has the Mackintosh brand become a luxury item; really this is a company all about an innovation. In the 1820s, the Scottish inventor Charles Macintosh (no "k") figured out how to impregnate cotton with rubber, thus creating the modern raincoat. That innovation has proved durable-the company still makes the definitional raincoat nearly 200 years later.