Top 8 Iconic Things That Started With A Criminal Background

One does not have to be a great person to do great things. Some of the most famous things in the world got their start by people being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Some of these people were the victims of crimes. Others instigated the wrongdoings. So here are Top People Who Settled The Trouble Start And Changes The World

Travels of Marco Polo

In 1269, Polo traveled across Asia. Twenty-four years later, he finally returned to his native Venice. Before he arrived, Venice declared war on neighbouring Genoa. Barred from entering the city, Polo and his crew assaulted Geneon authorities.

Top 8 Iconic Things

In prison for the attack Marco Polo passed the time by telling his cellmate, Rustichello of Pisa, of his exploits in China. Rustichello wrote down the tales that eventually became the travelogue, “The Travels of Marco Polo”

Upon release, audiences were exposed to Asian cultural norms for the first time, like paper money and pasta. Additionally, the learned of mysterious lands inhabited by cannibals, unicorns, and people with dog shaped heads. Polo’s detailed account of Kubla Khan’s stately pleasure-dome have inspired people for centuries.

Mars Candies 

Frank, immobile due to childhood polio, made deserts with his mother. That early interest in confectionary arts fostered a lifelong passion for candy. In early 1900’s, he strained his marriage to Ethel Kissack by marketing the candy Mar-O-Bar. The struggling entrepreneur lost two businesses and a marriage. Divorcee Ethel moved her and their son, Forrest, to Canada.

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Forrest Mars, after studying business at Berkeley and Yale, made thousands advertising for Camel cigarettes where in one assignment in guerilla market in Chicago, Forrest went overboard and plastered ads on light posts around town. The police arrested him for vandalism.

With his last remaining four hundred dollars, Frank bailed out his estranged son. The encounter rekindled their relationship. While drinking milk shakes, Forrest suggested father to add malt to his chocolate. Named after the cream used in nougat, the candy bar was dubbed “Milky Way.” Mars additionally makes Three Musketeers, Snickers, and M&M’s.

Griffith Observatory

Griffith J. Griffith, the man so nice they named him twice. However, not nice enough that he did not try to kill his wife.

The oilman turned benefactor gifted generations of Angelenos acres of open space in his namesake Griffith Park. His good will abruptly ended in 1903. While vacationing in Santa Monica, Griffith told his wife, Mary Agnes Christina Mesmer, “get your prayer book and kneel down…. I’m going to shoot you.”

Fleeing her abusive husband, she leapt from the third-story window. An awning underneath conveniently broke her fall. She crawled to safety through the broken glass of a nearby window. Claiming “alcoholic insanity,” Griffith’s charges were reduced to assault with a deadly weapon. He spent two years in prison. To rebuild his reputation, Griffith tried to donate more landmarks to Los Angeles. The city initially rejected his 1912 offer of $100,000 to construct Griffith observatory. Despite initial reluctance, Hollywood has certainly embraced the observatory since its 1935 inception.

Periodic Table of Elements

In 1701, the Polish monarch was tricked by small time con-artist Johann Friedrich Böttger. His signature trick as a magician was pulling out two silver coins, which then disappeared and reappeared as a single gold piece.

Augustus the Strong took this as proof that Böttger had mastered the art of alchemy. To preserve the scientific breakthrough, Augustus jailed the magician until he revealed his secrets. Of course, Böttger was caught in a lie. Angered that he was bamboozled, Augustus the Strong threatened to execute Böttger. To spare his life, Böttger made up a new lie.

European leaders had long wanted to end China’s monopoly on porcelain. Böttger claimed he knew how to make it & luckily for Böttger, he could team up with Ehrenfried Walter von Tschirnhaus, one of the few European scientists researching porcelain. Walter von Tschirnhaus pioneered a special oven that could melt porcelain down. The duo discovered it was comprised of kaolin clay and feldspar rock. Instead of securing his freedom, Böttger’s insight was so valuable he was placed under even stricter security.

The ability to manufacture porcelain immediately reshaped the European and Chinese trade balance. The unearthed elements filled key missing gaps Dmitri Mendeleev needed to finalize the periodic table.

Auntie Anne’s Pretzels

The mall food court staple was established to offer financial and spiritual support following heartbreak. Anne Bailer went through tough times in childhood loosing her parents in car accident and later being abused as 6 year old.

Her husband Jonas, realized he should build a support network to help traumatized woman get psychological help. In 1988, to supplement their income while Jonas ran his free clinic, Anne opened a concession stand. Initially offering a variety of products, the public soon turned their soft pretzels into a nationwide hit.


Record setting heatwaves, routinely above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, cooked New York City in a crucible. Blasting air conditioners strained the electrical grid. When two lightning strikes flooded the system on July 13, 1977, the surge was too strong. The city was plunged into darkness.

It was quickly illuminated by rioters’ flames. Arsonist set 1,037 fires that night. A new crop of DJs got their hands on expensive sound equipment that they otherwise could not afford. The blackout did not create the genre. Kool Herc had already hosted his legendary block parties prior to the power failure. It merely exploded it.


Jerry Siegel lost his hero, so he made a new one. In 1932, his father, Mitchell Siegel, was assaulted. Around 8’oclock at night, three men attempted to rob the enterprise & fired two shots at Mitchell. Luckily, both missed the shop owner, but it was still lethal. The fright caused by the shooting prompted a fatal heart attack.

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One year later, Jerry Siegel sketched the first Superman adventure. It depicts the Man of Steel rescuing a shopkeeper from muggers. Other elements of the comic book character echo Siegel’s own tragic backstory. Both lost their father at a young age. The first power ever featured was invulnerability to bullets.

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Colonel Sanders is fictional. Harland Sanders was real. The genteel poultry magnate dressed in a bespoke white suit is a caricature, an abstraction. The actual Harland Sanders was a vengeful short-tempered man.

At a shell gas station where Sanders served food, local rival Matt Stewart, ran his own chain of restaurants. To get a leg up on the competition, Stewart painted his own slogan over Sanders’ billboards. Sanders could not tolerate such flagrant disrespect.

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Gun-toting Sanders drove to confront Stewart. Two accompanying Shell officials, Robert Gibson and H.D. Shelburne, waited in the wings. Upon arrival, Stewart shot Gibson in the chest. Sanders picked a revolver off the dying man. Both he and Shelburne fired back.

With his main adversary serving an 18-year sentence in prison, Sanders was free to invest in a stand-alone restaurant. Sanders’ name went on to become synonymous with one of the most successful companies in history.

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