A piece of technology doesn’t have to be a hit for it to be a milestone. In fact, some of the most important gadgets flopped, as it takes years of refinement for any given product category to resonate with mainstream consumers. 

For pioneering companies, it’s about pointing the way for an industry through innovation and risk taking. Remember the first stab at a smartphone, or the first mass-market digital camera? Did you know the first video call was placed while Lyndon Johnson was in office? 

Although these 12 gadgets enjoyed various degrees of commercial success, they all should be remembered for being ahead of their time.