Who invented the original selfie stick? What is the story behind it?

It seems that you can’t walk a mile without seeing someone taking a ‘selfie’, nowadays. It has become as common as a nuisance, for many places and events even witnessed a ban. It didn’t take much time for the autograph to be replaced by selfies. Despite its narcissistic traits and self-absorbing implications, the selfies are quite popular in the modern world, especially among youngsters. With the rise in popularity of selfies, the demand for another contraption rose as well – the selfie stick. A selfie stick is a monopod on which a smartphone or camera can be positioned beyond the normal range of the arm. Usually made of metals, these long sticks would have a handle on one end and an adjustable clamp on the other end to hold the phone in place. The device has become as popular as the selfies themselves, and more of nuisance to some people. It has found itself banned in many events, even a conference of Apple.

Hiroshi Ueda with selfie stick
The selfie stick has an interesting history. It is not actually new as we think it to be. Like any other contraptions, this was also invented and re-invented by people from different places in different time periods. The selfie stick was there before the mobile phone gained popularity and even the word selfie was invented. The earliest known model of the selfie sticks owes its origin to a Japanese engineer named Hiroshi Ueda (photo above). He made the device in the 1980s, while he was working for the Minolta camera company. Ueda was a keen photographer and had a habit of taking numerous photos on tours. The idea got into his head when he wanted to take a photo of himself and his wife but couldn’t trust anyone else due to his bitter experiences with passers-by in past. He designed and extendable stick with a tripod screw to hold a small camera in place. He added a mirror to the front of the camera so that photographers could see themselves and make sure they were alright.
The product was introduced in market by the Minolta Company with the camera Minolta Disc-7. However, the device was not all that successful. It was listed in the 1995 book ‘101 Un-Useless Japanese Inventions: the Art of Chindogu’.
The patent of Ueda run out in 2003, and that was when the modern selfie stick was invented. Unaware of Ueda’s device, Canadian inventor Wayne Fromm patented his version of the selfie stick, named ‘Quik Pod’, in 2005. Both inventors see themselves as the real inventors of the device, as it continues to both attract and annoy the people.

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