We use products every day. Some of them seem so mundane we never really give them much thought. What often catches our attention are electronic products. Most of these products will attract some sort of human attention, like watching TV, listening to the radio, or tapping away at the computer. As we use them every day, we are very much aware of their presence.
There are some inventions though that have become enduring products and have been around for quite some time already. These products don’t need electricity to operate, so they don’t need much attention after we purchase them. This is the case with the Little Trees air fresheners.
This product has been around since 1952 and was invented by Julius Sämann, a chemist from Waterton, New York. As the story goes, a milkman was complaining to Sämann about the smell of spilled milk in his truck. It so happened that the chemist was also studying the properties of evergreen pine trees with their nice, soothing scent. He eventually developed the scent-emitting air freshener, which is usually hung from rearview mirrors.
It is very convenient to use, small, and doesn’t need energy to function. Perhaps it’s because of these qualities along with its good smell that has kept this product relevant. Cars have greatly improved over time, and you also see new kinds of car air fresheners being offered. The Little Tree, produced by Car-Freshener Corporation has basically remained the same, and has simply added more fragrances. The product is a common sight and there is even a webpage dedicated showing where Little Trees have been on television, in the movies or on the radio.
The company has branched out to other products. It is privately held, so there is no readily-available published information about it. One website estimates its annual sales at $10-$25 million, although this is not verifiable.
Nevertheless, this product is over half a century old. As desktop computers gave way to laptops and notebooks, General Motors experienced bankruptcy, and the iPhone conquered the world, the tree-shaped product kept on dangling from rearview mirrors.