Who Invented the First Selfie Stick? (Invention Timeline Explained)

Humans have always loved taking photos of views, events, and themselves. Even before the invention of cameras, people used other means to preserve a memory like paintings, sketches, and portraits. It seems like we have this instinct from within that craves to memorialize something through printed receipts or pictures. In 1816, Joseph Niepce invented the first camera. Different people and companies improved the technology and design of digital cameras.

One additional device that helps people to take better photos is the selfie stick. Tourists, vloggers, influencers, and enthusiasts love a good selfie stick. It helps them take shots from different angles and with an extended range. You may think that the selfie stick is a 20th-century invention, but you’ll be surprised to know that its story goes back to the 80s. This article is a run-down of the interesting history and background of the selfie stick.

Who invented the first selfie stick?

Ueda Hiroshi and Mima Yujiro were the first people to create and patent the design for a selfie stick which they call a “telescopic extender.” It was Wayne Fromm who created the modern version of the selfie stick.

The selfie stick’s key contributors (and evolution)

  • Ueda Hiroshi and Mima Yujiro,
    The First Version of Selfie Stick

    Engineers Hiroshi and Yujiro came up with the design of a telescopic extender to hold cameras and videos. They patented the plan in 1983.

  • Wayne Fromm
    The Modern Selfie Stick

    The selfie stick’s modern design was attributed to Wayne Fromm. He patented the Quik Pod design in 2015. 

  • Yeong-Ming Wang,
    The Enhanced Selfie Stick

    Yeong-Ming Wang, is a brilliant inventor from China.The concept behind the multi-axis shooting extender. He also proved that the selfie stick could be Omnidirectional.

  • Time Magazine
    One of the Best Inventions

    Time magazine helped boost the popularity of selfie sticks by naming them one of the best inventions of 2014.

  • Coca-Cola
    The Selfie Bottle

    In 2016, a selfie bottle is a bottle with an attached camera at the end. It is designed to take picture/s when tipped. This campaign helped boost the coca cola products and the selfie sticks as well. 

When was the first selfie stick invented?

Hiroshi and Yujiro invented the first concept of the selfie stick in 1983. Wayne Fromm designed the modern version in 2015.

A brief history of selfie sticks

Selfie sticks may look like inventions from the 20th century, but in reality, the concept of a long pole or extended arm for better camera angle started way back. The first evidence of a selfie stick was captured in a photograph from the 1920s. The picture of a married couple showed the man holding a long metal pole pointing in the camera’s direction. Although the purpose of the metal pole was not explained in the photo, experts believe it was used to poke the camera’s shutter, which was positioned away from the couple.

In 1969, a famous scene from the sci-fi film “I Killed Einstein, Gentleman,” showed a character holding a silver stick while taking photos with another character. The scene where both characters looked at the end of the silver stick, posed, and smiled, followed by a bright flash of light, made people speculate that the character is using a selfie stick.

In 1983, camera engineers Ueda Hiroshi and Mina Yujiro came up with a fascinating invention. They developed a device where you can mount a camera, making taking self-portraits easier and more manageable. They called their creation a “telescopic extender” designed for the handheld camera they were working for. They applied for a patent and were granted a certificate in 1984. 

The selfie stick achieved its peak popularity during the early 2000s, known as the time of smartphones. In 2005, a Canadian inventor, Wayne Fromm, released his invention called Quik Pod. Wayne’s design was followed by a multi-axis shooting extender designed by Yeong-Ming Wang. From there, many developers and companies designed and developed their own versions of a selfie stick.

The selfie stick timeline

  1. 1925
    Homemade Selfie Stick

    There is a photo from 1925 of a loving couple. The man was shown holding a long pole extending toward the camera. It was believed to be a homemade selfie stick. Experts explained that back then, box cameras couldn’t capture clear self-portraits if held at arm’s length, so a pointing device or remote shutter was needed.

  2. 1969
    I Killed Einstein, Gentleman

    In the sci-fi film “I killed Einstein, Gentleman,” a character was seen with a silver stick that looked like a selfie stick. In a scene, she held the silver stick and smiled. This gesture was followed by a camera flash and a printed picture.

  3. 1983
    The Telescopic Extender

    Engineers Ueda Hiroshi and Mina Yujiro developed and patented the design for a telescopic extender. It was designed primarily for the camera they were working for. 

  4. 2005
    The Quik Pod

    In 2005, Wayne Fromm, a Canadian scientist and inventor, launched his invention – the Quik Pod. 

  5. 2012
    The Multi-Axis Extender

    Yeong-Ming Wang designed the multi-axis shooting extender, which is Omnidirectional. She applied for a patent and even won a medal at the Concours Lepine in 2013.

Where was the first selfie stick invented?

The first recorded selfie stick was developed in Japan by two Japanese inventors and engineers, Ueda Hiroshi and Mima Yujiro.

The importance of the selfie stick

  • It secures your device

    The current generation loves taking selfies or videos of themselves. Tourists would love to capture everything they can see. Taking photos can make your arms sore, causing you to drop and damage your phone. A selfie stick can secure your device/smartphone. 

  • Good for those travelling solo

    If you have a selfie stick, it’ll be way easier for you to take photos from different angles and ranges. You don’t need to make an awkward request from a stranger to take your photos. 

  • Excellent for groupies

    A selfie stick is not just for taking solo photos. Since it extends, you can include more people in the frame. There’s no need to choose the friend with the longest arm to hold the phone or take turns being the photographer, you can now all be present in every single group photo. 

  • Capture the majestic view

    You’ll come across beautiful sceneries and majestic views whenever you are travelling. With the help of a selfie stick, you can hold your camera further away to include a wide scene in your photo.

The selfie stick by the numbers

  • 1995In 1995, the selfie stick was dubbed a useless invention. It was listed in the book “100 Un-useless Japanese Inventions.”
  • 25Selfie stick became one of the top 25 best inventions in 2014 by Time Magazine.
  • $2.5 billionThe most expensive selfie stick costs $2.5 billion! This is not the type you use for selfies; this selfie stick was used in a space mission by the Mars rover, Curiosity. 
  • 300 hoursThe best kind of selfie stick has batteries lasting about 300 hours. So, you can take as many photos as you want without worrying about your selfie stick dying.

Five facts about the selfie stick

  • They killed more people than sharks and snakes!

    People died from using selfie sticks irresponsibly and excessively. Many people got into unfortunate accidents (that, yeah, resulted in death) while trying to take awesome pictures. Some of them were run over by trains or bulls!

  • They were banned in different places

    Selfie sticks, despite their popularity, are banned from different places and events. Concert venues, music festivals, museums, galleries, and historical sites prohibited visitors from using selfie sticks for safety issues. Even Disneyland banned using selfie sticks, especially on their extreme rides.

  • The Invention of the Year

    Selfie stick was regarded as the invention of the year (2014) by Time magazine. Although it was around long before this award, it was this year that the selfie stick became extremely popular with the public. 

  • The Narcisstick

    Some argue that the excessive use of selfie sticks reflects narcissistic behavior. People explained that hyperfocus on oneself by taking loads of selfies causes vanity. Hence the nickname, Narcisstick.

  • Selfie sticks can be tripod alternatives.

    Some selfie sticks can be doubled as tripods. They helped improve stability and photo quality. So, selfie sticks remain relevant for travellers, vloggers, and tourists worldwide.

FAQ about the selfie stick

  • Can a selfie stick damage your phone?

    No. But you must always check if your selfie stick is faulty or broken because your phone might fall straight on the ground or in the water. 

  • Does the selfie stick require your Bluetooth always to be open?

    Some selfie sticks require Bluetooth to your device (both android and iPhone). But some selfie sticks have a headphone jack which you can simply plug into your device.

  • Can I make my selfie stick?

    Yes. You can create your  DIY selfie stick by looking for a pole, curtain rod, or sturdy stick. Then,  attach your device using tape or rubber. However, you must ensure the tape won’t cross the selfie camera. You can use the  timer on your device to have the best selfie using your DIY selfie stick. 

  • Is it better to have a longer selfie stick?

    Not necessarily. Some selfie sticks can extend up to 10 feet, but it doesn’t mean it is better.  The recommended length of a selfie stick is only three to four feet. A selfie stick longer than three to four feet might affect the user’s hand stability because of its weight.

  • Is it safe to use a selfie stick?

    Selfie sticks are generally safe to use. However, excessive use of it can lead to accidents. Several places like Disneyland banned the use of selfie sticks for safety reasons. 

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