Harold von Braunhut

Inventor

1926 – 2003

20

Who was Harold von Braunhut?

Harold Nathan Braunhut, also known as Harold von Braunhut, was an American mail-order marketer and inventor, most famous as the creator and seller of both the Amazing Sea-Monkeys and the X-Ray Specs. His grandfather, Tobias Cohn, had the patent for the pail and shovel and was head of the T.Cohn Toy Company until the early 1940s.

Braunhut was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 31, 1926. He grew up in New York City and resided there until the 1980s, when he moved to Maryland. According to a Washington Post report, he was raised "as Harold Nathan Braunhut, a Jew" - notable in light of his later association with white supremacist groups. He added "von" to his name some time in the 1950s for a more Germanic sound.

Braunhut used comic book advertisements to sell an assortment of quirky products. He held 195 patents for various products, many of which have become cultural icons, including:

X-Ray Specs - whose advertisements claim that the wearer can see through clothing and flesh. The product has appealed to generations of curious adolescent boys.

Amazing Sea-Monkeys - which were tiny brine shrimp that came to life when water was added. Sales took an upswing when comic book illustrator Joe Orlando drew comic book ads showing the humanized Sea-Monkeys enjoying life in their underwater fantasy world. Billions of the tiny creatures have been sold over the years and have generated fan websites, a television series, and a video game. Astronaut John Glenn took 400 million "Amazing Sea-Monkeys" into space with him in 1998.

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Born
Mar 31, 1926
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Died
Nov 28, 2003
Indian Head

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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