Who Invented It: Leon Leonwood Bean
Year Introduced: 1912
L.L. Bean started his business with this one product: a combination of a rubber sole and lightweight leather upper. He guaranteed refunds for anyone unhappy with the boots, and as a result had to refund 90% of the first 100 boots when the rubber began to crack. As such, Bean started to develop a reputation for two things. One was quality customer service, and the second was a desire to make a high-quality product. He enlisted the help of the United States Rubber Company for a better boot, set up shop in Freeport, Maine, and the rest is history.