For most of us, a garden shed means a dusty old building in your back garden, which is filled to the brim with gardening odd bits, or occasionally it’s used for DIY. However, sometimes there is more to a shed than meets the eye.
Sheds have played host to some inspiring inventions over the years and some of the most successful famous companies still around, were founded in a shed. So who were they?
Arguably the most famous movie studio in the world. Walt and his brother Roy moved in with their uncle Robert In California, before creating ‘The First Disney Studio’ in his garden shed. The rest, as they say, is history, as Disney today is the highest grossing media company in the world.
The world’s largest and most successful tech company, started out from very humble beginnings. In 1976, Steve jobs and Steve Wozniak began the company from a small garage in Cupertino, California. ‘The Steve’s’ as they were known, hand built 50 computers from their small garage.
Officially founded in 1903, one of the most successful motorbike companies in the world, came from a 10-by 15-foot wooden shed. William S. Harley drew up the plans to engineer a bicycle which would be powered by a small engine. With his childhood friend, Arthur Davidson, the two went on to build the bike from scratch, all from a wooden shed.
Anthony Colin Bruce, founder of Lotus, first designed and built a Lotus racing car in a stable, behind The Railway Hotel in North London. At only 20 years of age, Chapman used a power drill and an old Austin Seven, to create the Lotus Mark I
Starting above his parent’s garage, Charles Walton took Kybotech, to a log cabin on the Waltons Sheds show site at Sutton on Trent. Eventually, Charles took the site to its own facility in Sutton where Kybotech has gone on to be the biggest distributor of garden products and leisure equipment in the country.
One of Britain’s most well-known inventors started out in the comfort of his own garden shed. Now a household name everywhere, Sir James Dyson, changed cleaning history, by designing the first ever bag-less vacuum, from his shed.
The Wright Brothers
During the race for flight, the Wright Brothers built a wooden shed, for the sole purpose of creating an aircraft. Used for testing, storage and design, the pair were successful in their creation, changing the world as we know it today.
The beautifully scented candles started out as melted crayons in Massachusetts. Michael Kittredge, melted some crayons as a gift for his mothers, before the neighbours took notice and expressed some interest in buying them. Kittredge then started mass producing the candles in his mother’s shed, before eventually outgrowing it.
The company was founded by Dave Packard and Billy Hewlett in 1939. Now one of the biggest electronics brands in the world, the company’s headquarters remain in California, where the pair first created the business in Packard’s wooden shed.
In 1943, Ingvar Kamprad created the world famous IKEA brand. From his own tiny 2m square shed, he began selling disposable items. Four years later he sold his first ever piece of furniture and then a further four years later, an IKEA catalogue was published.
After moving from Croatia to escape persecution and war, Tony Maglica settled down in Los Angeles. He eventually saved $125 by doing odd jobs. Working in his shed, he then put a payment down on his first lathe and began to manufacture precision parts. Now Maglite is the standard issue flashlight for police offers in America.
So even if you think the odds are against you, all you need is a garden shed and a great idea!
Contributing Author: Charles Walton, CEO of Garden Buildings Direct. Charles has a vast amount of experience within the industry and has been developing sheds with the company since 2006. Find out more here: