I've just contributed to a Design Week voxpop about the design stories behind everyday objects. My choice was the cat's eye.
I'm far from the first to point out what a remarkable piece of design it is, but the story can't be told often enough. Its inventor was a Yorkshireman called Percy Shaw. Different sources tell different versions of the story, but the romantic version has it that Percy Shaw was driving down a dark stretch of road, from which the tramlines had recently been removed. This was a problem, as people generally relied on the reflections from the tramlines to find their way at night. As he approached a blind bend, his headlights caught the eyes of cat sitting on a fence, which alerted him to slow down – without that cat (the story goes) he'd have overshot the bend and met a messy end.
Whether or not the story is true, "cat's eye" was certainly an ingenious brand name, and beautifully carried through in the poster above.
As I mention in the voxpop, Percy Shaw was a bit of a character. If you're not familiar with it already, it's well worth reading more about his life and strange TV viewing habits.