When Valerie Hunter Gordon developed a disposable diaper called the Paddi in 1947, consisting of flushable cellulose padding held inside a nylon shell, she made things easier for herself and her friends, but manufacturers didn't see the genius in the product. The executives probably didn't wash many diapers.
The Paddi was a major hit with her homemaker friends, and she wound up sewing over 400 sets for them at her kitchen table. Although the diapers proved popular, Gordon couldn’t convince a company to manufacture them because it was thought there was little market for them. Finally, in 1949, Gordon was able to sell the idea to Robinson and Sons, a company that was one of the first to make disposable sanitary napkins. After a slow start, Paddi’s became quite popular, which led other companies to tweak Gordon’s two-part design and release their own disposable diapers. In fact, it wasn’t until 1961, when Pampers were introduced, that the completely disposable diaper became the norm.
Read the rest of the story of the disposable diaper, plus the history of other baby products such as the pacifier, stroller, and baby monitor at mental_floss. Link