In 1945, just after the end of World War II, Sony–which wasn’t even Sony yet, the company’s name was Tokyo Telecommunications Research Institute–decided to make a household appliance that the thousands of Japanese homes with electricity might use. Enter the electric rice cooker.
Obviously, this seems like a pretty good bet. Of course homeowners would want gadgets to use the electricity, and in Japan, how could you lose with a gadget that makes rice?
Unfortunately, it was a great idea with terrible implementation.
The rice cooker ended up being a wooded bucket with some aluminum electrodes on the bottom, and, depending on the electrical current the cooker was hooked up to, the cooker either prepared crunchy rice or mushy rice.
Of course, the Japanese Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and Toshiba jumped on the band wagon not long after, resulting in much more effective rice cookers.