A yellow circle with simply drawn eyes and a smile has become one of the most recognized American graphics. It was first created for an insurance company in the 1960s by artist Harvey Ball.
They were little guys with big ideas, who started out with nothing, gave everything, and created something that changed the world, and their lives, forever. Discover the stories behind the inventions of the Lego brick, the intermittent windshield wiper, Madam C.J. Walker's hair supplies, and the smiley face. These incredible tales involve a child of slaves who defied prejudice, an engineer who fought a 30-year legal battle against the automotive industry, a designer who created a cultural icon for a $45 paycheck, and more.
Watch this episode online now.
Stream hundreds of shows by starting your free trial to Smithsonian Channel Plus.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.