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Zoom Inventors and Inventions
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US and Canadian Inventors and Inventions

ADHESIVE TAPE
tapeRichard G. Drew (1899-1980) invented masking tape and clear adhesive tape (also called cellophane tape or Scotch tape). Drew was an engineer for the 3M company (the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing).

Drew's first tape invention was a masking tape made for painters in 1923 (this tape was designed to help painters paint a straight border between two colors). This early masking tape was a wide paper tape with adhesive on only the edges of the tape - not in the middle. Drew made an improved tape called Scotch (TM) Brand Cellulose Tape in 1930. This tape was a clear, all-purpose adhesive tape that was soon adopted worldwide. The first tape dispenser with a built-in cutting edge was invented in 1932 by John A. Borden, another 3M employee.

AEROSOL SPRAY CAN
scissorsThe forerunner of the aerosol can was invented by Erik Rotheim of Norway. On November 23, 1927, Rotheim patented a can with a valve and propellant systems - it could hold and dispense liquids.

The first aerosol can (a can than contains a propellant [a liquefied gas like flurocarbon] and has a spray nozzle) was invented in 1944 by Lyle David Goodloe and W.N. Sullivan. They were working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and were trying to find a way to spray and kill malaria carrying mosquitos during World War II for the soldiers overseas. The "clog-free" spray valve was invented by Robert H. Abplanal in 1953.

The first spray paint was invented by Edward H. Seymour in 1949. Seymour's wife Bonnie had given him the idea of an aerosol applicator for paint. The first spray paint he developed was aluminum colored. Seymour formed the company, Seymour of Sycamore, Inc. of Chicago, USA, which is still in operation.

airplaneAIRPLANE
The first working airplane was invented by, designed, made, and flown by the Wright brothers, Wilbur Wright (1867-1912) and Orville Wright (1871-1948). Their "Wright Flyer" was a fabric-covered biplane with a wooden frame. The power to the two propellers was supplied by a 12-horsepower water-cooled engine. On December 17, 1903, the "Flyer" flew for 12 seconds and for a distance of 120 feet (37 m). The flight took place at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, USA.
ANDERSON, MARY
The windshield wiper was invented by Mary Anderson in 1903 to help streetcars operate safely in the rain. In 1905 she patented her invention, which allowed the car operator to control the external, swinging arm wipers from within the car. Windshield wipers became standard equipment on cars a decade later. Anderson was from Alabama, USA.
APGAR SCALE
The Apgar scale is a standardized scale that is used to determine the physical status of an infant at birth. This simple, easy-to-perform test was devised in 1953 by Dr. Virginia Apgar (1909-1974), a professor of anesthesia at the New York Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. The Apgar scale is administered to a newborn at one minute after birth and five minutes after birth. It scores the baby's heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, reflex response, and color. This test quickly alerts medical personnel that the newborn needs assistance.
APGAR, VIRGINIA
Dr. Virginia Apgar (1909-1974), a professor of anesthesiology at the New York Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, devised the Apgar Scale in 1953. The Apgar scale is a simple, easy-to-perform, standardized scale that is used to determine the physical status of an infant at birth. The Apgar scale is administered to a newborn at one minute after birth and five minutes after birth. It scores the baby's heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, reflex response, and color. This test quickly alerts medical personnel that the newborn baby needs assistance.
Model T carASSEMBLY LINE
Primitive assembly line production was first used in 1901 by Ransome Eli Olds (1864-1950), an early car-maker (he manufactured the Oldsmobile, the first commercially successful American car). Henry Ford (1863-1947) used the first conveyor belt-based assembly-line in his car factory in 1913-14 in Ford's Highland Park, Michigan plant. This type of production greatly reduced the amount of time taken to put each car together (93 minutes for a Model T) from its parts, reducing production costs. Assembly lines are now used in many manufacturing processes.
BAEKELAND, L.H.
BaekelandLeo Hendrik Baekeland (November 14, 1863 - February 23, 1944) was a Belgian-born American chemist who invented Velox photographic paper (1893) and Bakelite (1907), an inexpensive, nonflammable, versatile, and very popular plastic.

For more information on Baekeland, click here.

BAKELITE
Bakelite (also called catalin) is a plastic, a dense synthetic polymer (a phenolic resin) that was used to make jewelry, game pieces, engine parts, radio boxes, switches, and many, many other objects. Bakelite was the first industrial thermoset plastic (a material that does not change its shape after being mixed and heated). Bakelite plastic is made from carbolic acid (phenol) and formaldehyde, which are mixed, heated, and then either molded or extruded into the desired shape.

Bakelite was patented in 1907 by the Belgian-born American chemist Leo Hendrik Baekeland (November 14, 1863 - February 23, 1944). The Nobel Prize winning German chemist Adolf von Baeyer had experimented with this material in 1872, but did not complete its development or see its potential.

Baekeland operated the General Bakelite Company from 1911 to 1939 (in Perth Amboy, N.J., USA), and produced up to about 200,000 tons of Bakelite annually. Bakelite replaced the very flammable celluloid plastic that had been so popular. The bracelet above is made of "butterscotch" bakelite.

BandageBAND-AID®
Bandages for wounds had been around since ancient times, but an easy-to-use dressing with an adhesive was invented by Earle Dickson (a cotton buyer at the Johnson & Johnson company). Dickson perfected the BAND-AID® in 1920, making a small, sterile adhesive bandage for home use. Dickson invented the BAND-AID® for his wife, who had many kitchen accidents and needed an easy-to-use wound dressing. Dickson was rewarded by the Johnson & Johnson company by being made a vice-president of the company.
bar codeBAR CODE
Bar codes (also called Universal Product Codes or UPC's) are small, coded labels that contain information about the item they are attached to; the information is contained in a numerical code, usually containing 12 digits. UPC's are easily scanned by laser beams. UPC's are used on many things, including most items for sale in stores, library books, inventory items, many packages and pieces of luggage being shipped, railroad cars, etc. The UPC may contain coded information about the item, its manufacturer, place of origin, destination, the owner, or other data. The first "bullseye code" was invented by Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver, from work which they began in 1948. On October 20, 1949, they patented their bullseye code (a series of concentric circles that were scannable from all directions, using regular light). Woodland and Silver patented a new UPC in October 1952; the UPC was also improved and adapted by David J. Collins in the late 1950's (to track railroad cars). UPC's were first used in grocery stores in the early 1970's.
BASKETBALL
basket ballThe game of basketball was invented by James Naismith (1861-1939). Naismith was a Canadian physical education instructor who invented the game in 1891 so that his students could participate in sports during the winter. In his original game, which he developed while at the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association), Naismith used a soccer ball which was thrown into peach baskets (with the basket bottoms intact). The first public basketball game was in Springfield, MA, USA, on March 11, 1892. Basketball was first played at the Olympics in Berlin Germany in 1936 (America won the gold medal, and Naismith was there).
BATHYSPHERE
A bathysphere is a pressurized metal sphere that allows people to go deep in the ocean, to depths at which diving unaided is impossible. This hollow cast iron sphere with very thick walls is lowered and raised from a ship using a steel cable. The bathysphere was invented by William Beebe and Otis Barton (around 1930). William Beebe (1877 - 1962), an American naturalist and undersea explorer, tested the bathysphere in 1930, going down to 1426 feet in a 4'9" (1.45 m) diameter bathysphere. Beebe and Otis Barton descended about 3,000 ft (914 m) feet in a larger bathysphere in 1934. They descended off the coast of Nonsuch Island, Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean. During the dive, they communicated with the surface via telephone.
BELL, ALEXANDER GRAHAM
Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847, Edinburgh, Scotland - August 2, 1922, Baddek, Nova Scotia) invented the telephone (with Thomas Watson) in 1876. Bell also improved Thomas Edison's phonograph. Bell invented the multiple telegraph (1875), the hydroairplane, the photo-sensitive selenium cell (the photophone, a wireless phone, developed with Sumner Tainter), and new techniques for teaching the deaf to speak. In 1882, Bell and his father-in-law, Gardiner Hubbard, bought and re-organized the journal "Science." Bell, Hubbard and others founded the National Geographic Society in 1888; Bell was the President of the National Geographic Society from 1898 to 1903.
BERSON, SOLOMON A.
Dr. Solomon A. Berson (1919-1972) and Dr. Rosalyn Sussman Yalow (1921- ) co-invented the radioimmunoassay (RIA) in 1959. The radioimmunoassay is a method of chemically analyzing human blood and tissue and is used diagnose illness (like diabetes). RIA revolutionized diagnoses because it uses only a tiny sample of blood or tissue and is a relatively inexpensive and simple test to perform. Blood banks use RIA to screen blood; RIA is used to detect drug use, high blood pressure, infertility, and many other conditions and diseases. For inventing RIA, Yalow won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1977 (Yalow accepted for Berson, who died in 1972). Yalow and Berson did not patent the RIA; instead they allowed the common use of RIA to benefit human health.
BLODGETT, KATHERINE
Kathering J. Blodgett (1898-1979) was an American physicist and inventor who invented a micro-thin barium stearate film that makes glass completely nonreflective and "invisible" (patent #2,220,660, March 16, 1938). Blodgett's invention has been used in eyeglasses, camera lenses, telescopes, microscopes, periscopes, and projector lenses. Blodgett also invented a gauge that measured the thickness of this type of coating (which can be only a few molecules thick), called a "color gauge."
BLOOD BANK
The idea of a blood bank was pioneered by Dr. Charles Richard Drew (1904-1950). Dr. Drew was an American medical doctor and surgeon who started the idea of a blood bank and a system for the long term preservation of blood plasma (he found that plasma kept longer than whole blood). His ideas revolutionized the medical profession and saved many, many lives. Dr. Drew set up and operated the blood plasma bank at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, NY. Drew's project was the model for the Red Cross' system of blood banks, of which he became the first director.
Levi StraussBLUE JEANS
Levi Strauss (1829-1902) was an entrepreneur who invented and marketed blue jeans. Trained as a tailor in Buttenheim, Bavaria, Germany, Strauss went to San Francisco, USA from New York in 1853. Strauss sold dry goods, including tents and linens to the 49ers (the people who came to the California gold rush, which began in 1849). In 1873, Strauss and Jacob Davis, a Nevada tailor, patented the idea (devised by Davis) of using copper rivets at the stress points of sturdy work pants. Early levis, called "waist overalls," came in a brown canvas duck fabric and a heavy blue denim fabric. The duck fabric pants were not very successful, so were dropped early on. His business became extremely successful (and still is), revolutionizing the apparel industry.
BRAILLE TYPEWRITER
The Hall Braille typewriter (also called a Braillewriter or Brailler) was invented in 1892 by Frank Haven Hall. Hall was the Superintendent of the Illinois Institution for the Blind. The Hall Braille typewriter was manufactured by the Harrison & Seifried company in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Hall introduced his invention on May 27, 1892, at Jacksonville, Illinois. It types raised Braille dots onto paper.
BREAD SLICER
The automatic commercial bread slicer was invented in 1927 by Otto Frederick Rohwedder from Iowa, USA (Rohwedder had worked on his machine since 1912). His machine both sliced and wrapped a loaf of bread. In 1928, the bread slicer was improved by Gustav Papendick, a baker from St. Louis, Missouri.
BUBBLE GUM
Bubblegum was invented by Frank Henry Fleer in 1906, but was not successful; the formulation of Fleer's "Blibber-Blubber," was too sticky. In 1928, Walter E. Diemer invented a superior formulation for bubble gum, which he called " Double Bubble."
BURBANK, LUTHER
Luther Burbank (1849-1926) was an American plant breeder who developed over 800 new strains of plants, including many popular varieties of potato, plums, prunes, berries, trees, and flowers. One of his greatest inventions was the Russet Burbank potato (also called the Idaho potato), which he developed in 1871. This blight-resistant potato helped Ireland recover from its devastating potato famine of 1840-60. Burbank also developed the Flaming Gold nectarine, the Santa Rosa plum, and the Shasta daisy. Burbank was raised on a farm and only went to elementary school; he was self-educated. Burbank applied the works of Charles Darwin to plants. Of Darwin's The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, Burbank said, "It opened up a new world to me."
BUTTS, ALFRED
scrabble boardThe word game Scrabble® was developed by Alfred Mosher Butts in 1948. James Brunot did some rearranging of the squares and simplified the rules. A copyright was granted on December 1, 1948. Alfred Butts had been an architect, but lost his job in 1931 (during the depression). He then began developing games, including Lexico, Criss-Crosswords, and them Scrabble®. After about 4 years of paltry sales, Scrabble® became a hit.
CARLSON, CHESTER F.
Chester Floyd Carlson (1906-1968) invented xerography (which means "dry writing" in Greek) in 1938. Xerography makes paper copies without using ink (hence its name). In this process, static electricity charges a lighted plate; a plastic powder (called toner) is applied to the areas of the page to remain white.

Chester F. Carlson was born in Seattle, Washington, USA. As a teenager, Carlson supported his invalid parents by publishing a chemical journal. After attending Cal Tech in physics, Carlson worked at an electronics firm. Carlson later experimented at home to find an efficient way of copying pages. He succeeded in 1938, and marketed his revolutionary device to about 20 companies before he could interest any. The Haloid Company (later called the Xerox Corporation) marketed it, and photocopying eventually became common and inexpensive.

CARVER, GEORGE WASHINGTON
George Washington Carver (1865?-1943) was an American scientist, educator, humanitarian, and former slave. Carver developed hundreds of products from peanuts, sweet potatoes, pecans, and soybeans; his discoveries greatly improved the agricultural output and the health of Southern farmers. Before this, the only main crop in the South was cotton. The products that Carver invented included a rubber substitute, adhesives, foodstuffs, dyes, pigments, and many other products.

For more information on Carver, click here. For a cloze (fill-in-the-blank) activity on Carver, click here.

CASH REGISTER
The mechanical cash register was invented (and patented) in 1879 by James Ritty (1836-1918). Ritty was an American tavern keeper in Dayton, Ohio. He nicknamed his cash register the "Incorruptible Cashier," and started the National Manufacturing Company to sell them. When a transaction was completed, a bell rang on the cash register and the amount was noted on a large dial on the front of the machine. During each sale, a paper tape was punched with holes so that the merchant could keep track of sales (at the end of the day, the merchant could add up the holes).

John H. Patterson (1844-1922) bought Ritty's patent and his cash register company in 1884. Patterson renamed the Dayton, Ohio, company the National Cash Register Company. Patterson improved Ritty's cash register by adding a paper tape that kept a printed record of all transactions.

In 1906, Charles F. Kettering (and employee of NCR) developed an electric cash register (Kettering later worked for General Motors and invented the electric car ignition).

The National Cash Register Company was later called NCR, until the company was bought by ATT in 1991; it was given back the name NCR in 1996, when it was split off from ATT.

CELLULAR PHONE

The first automatic analog cellular phone was made in the 1960's. Commercial models were introduced in Japan by NTT on December 3, 1979. They were introduced in Scandinavia in 1981, in Chicago, USA, on October 13, 1983 (by Motorola), and in Europe in the late 1980's. Early mobile FM (frequency modulation radio was invented by Edwin H. Armstrong in 1935) radio telephones had been in use in the USA since 1946, but since the number of radio frequencies are very limited in any area, the number of phone calls was also very limited. Only a dozen or two calls could be made at the same time in an area. To solve this problem, there could be many small areas (called cells) which share the same frequencies. But when users moved from one area to another while calling, the call would have to be switched over automatically without losing the call. In this system, a small number of radio frequencies could accommodate a huge number of calls. This cellular phone concept was devised by a team of researchers at Bell Labs in 1947, but there were no computers available to do the switching. As small inexpensive computers were developed, cell phones could be produced. Motorola holds the US patents for the cell phone. Henry Taylor Sampson and George H. Miley hold a 1968 patent (US patent #3,591,860) on a "gamma electric cell," which is not a component of cellular phones.
CELLULOID
Celluloid is a plastic made from cellulose (it is derived from plants). This very flammable material was invented in 1869 by the American inventor John Wesley Hyatt (it was invented to be a substitute for the elephant ivory used for billiard balls). Celluloid was one the first plastics invented; it can be damaged by moisture.
CHOCOLATE CHIPS
Ruth Wakefield invented chocolate chips (and chocolate chip cookies) in 1930. Wakefield ran the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. Her new cookie invention was called the "Toll House Cookie." Her original cookies used broken-up bars of semi-sweet chocolate.
COCA-COLA
Dr. John Stith Pemberton (1830-1888) was an American pharmacist, soldier, and inventor. He invented Coca-Cola on May 8th, 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He had invented many syrups, medicines, and elixirs before, including a very popular drink called French Wine of Coca, which contained French Bordeaux wine, coca leaves, and caffeine (from the kola nut).

When Atlanta banned alcohol consumption in 1885, Pemberton had to change the formula of his French Wine of Coca, omitting the French wine. He added sugar, citric acid and essential oils of many fruits to the drink, and the original Coca-Cola was created. It was named for its main ingredients, coca leaves and the kola nut. Coca-Cola quickly became a very popular soda fountain drink.

Pemberton became partners with Frank Robinson and David Roe, but the partners soon began to quarrel and Pemberton soon sold his interest in Coca-Cola. The formula for Coca-Cola is a closely-guarded secret.

COCHRAN, JOSEPHINE
The first dishwasher was patented in 1850 by Joel Houghton; his machine was a hand-turned wheel that splashed water on dishes - unfortunately, it wasn't very effective at washing dishes. The first working automatic dishwasher was invented by Mrs. Josephine Garis (W. A.) Cochran, of Shelbyville, Illinois, in 1889. Her dishwasher was a wooden tub with a wire basket in it - the dishes went in the basket, and rollers rotated the dishes. As a handle on the tub was turned, hot, soapy water was sprayed into the tub, cleaning the dishes. Cochran's machine was first shown at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, Illinois. At first, her machine was only bought by some restaurants and hotels. Cochran's small company was eventually associated with the KitchenAid company. The dishwasher didn't become widespread as a labor-saving machine until the 1960s.
COTTON CANDY
Cotton candy is a soft confection made from sugar that is heated and spun into slim threads that look like a mass of cotton. It was invented in 1897 by William Morrison and John C. Wharton, candymakers from Nashville, Tennessee.

For more information on cotton candy, click here.

COTTON GIN
The cotton gin is a machine that cleans cotton, removing its many seeds. This device revolutionized the cotton industry. Previously, this tedious job had been done by hand, using two combs. Eli Whitney (1765-1825) was an American inventor and engineer who invented the cotton gin; he patented the cotton gin on March 14, 1794. The cotton gin made much of the southern United States very rich, but cotton plantation owners rarely paid Whitney for the use of his invention, and Whitney went out of business.
crayonsCRAYONS
Crayons were invented by Edwin Binney and Harold Smith, who owned a paint company in New York City, NY, USA. Binney and Smith invented the modern-day crayon by combining paraffin wax with pigments (colorants). These inexpensive art supplies were an instant success since they were first marketed as Crayola crayons in 1903.
CRUM, GEORGE
The potato chip was invented in 1853 by George Crum. Crum was a Native American/African American chef at the Moon Lake Lodge resort in Saratoga Springs, New York, USA. French fries were popular at the restaurant and one day a diner complained that the fries were too thick. Although Crum made a thinner batch, the customer was still unsatisfied. Crum finally made fries that were too thin to eat with a fork, hoping to annoy the extremely fussy customer. The customer, surprisingly enough, was happy - and potato chips were invented!

For more information on George Crum and potato chips, click here.

DAVENPORT, THOMAS
Thomas Davenport (July 9, 1802 -July 6, 1851) was an American blacksmith and inventor who established the first commercially successful electric streetcar. Davenport, from Vermont, invented an electric motor in 1834 and began a small electric railway in 1835. He patented a device for "Improvements in propelling machinery by magnetism and electromagnetism" in 1837 (his electric railway). Davenport later started a workshop in New York City, New York, and published a journal on electromagnetism (it was printed on a press that was powered by motors which he devised).
BandageDICKSON, EARLE
Bandages for wounds had been around since ancient times, but an easy-to-use dressing with an adhesive was invented by Earle Dickson (a cotton buyer at the Johnson & Johnson company). Dickson perfected the BAND-AID® in 1920, making a small, sterile adhesive bandage for home use. Dickson invented the BAND-AID® for his wife, who had many kitchen accidents and needed an easy-to-use wound dressing. Dickson was rewarded by the Johnson & Johnson company by being made a vice-president of the company.
DISHWASHER
The first dishwasher was patented in 1850 by Joel Houghton; his machine was a hand-turned wheel that splashed water on dishes - unfortunately, it wasn't very effective at washing dishes. The first working automatic dishwasher was invented by Mrs. Josephine Garis (W. A.) Cochran, of Shelbyville, Illinois, in 1889. Her dishwasher was a wooden tub with a wire basket in it - the dishes went in the basket, and rollers rotated the dishes. As a handle on the tub was turned, hot, soapy water was sprayed into the tub, cleaning the dishes. Cochran's machine was first shown at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, Illinois. At first, her machine was only bought by some restaurants and hotels. Cochran's small company was eventually associated with the KitchenAid company. The dishwasher didn't become widespread as a labor-saving machine until the 1960s.
baby with diaperDISPOSABLE DIAPER
The disposable diaper was invented in 1950 by Marion Donovan. Her first leak-proof diaper was a plastic-lined cloth diaper. Donovan then developed a disposable diaper. She was unsuccessful at selling her invention to established manufacturers, so she started her own company.
baby with diaperDONOVAN, MARION
Marion Donovan (1917-1998) was an American mother, inventor, and architect who invented the disposable diaper in 1950. Her first leak-proof diaper were fast-selling "Boaters," plastic-lined cloth diapers (diapers lined with pieces cut from a shower curtain, and later with surplus parachute nylon). Donovan then developed a completely disposable diaper. She was unsuccessful at selling this invention to established manufacturers, so she started her own company, which she later sold. Donovan produced many other consumer-based inventions and held more than a dozen patents
DORTICUS, CLATONIA JOAQUIN
Clatonia Joaquin Dorticus was an African-American inventor who received many patents. He invented an apparatus for applying dyes to the sides of the soles and heels of shoes (patent # 535,820, March 19, 1895), a machine for embossing (contouring the paper of) photographs (patent # 537,442, April 16, 1895), a device that helped develop photographs (patent # 537,968, April 23, 1895), and a leak stopper for hoses (patent # 629,315, July 18, 1899).
DREW, CHARLES RICHARD
Dr. Charles Richard DrewDr. Charles Richard Drew (1904-1950) was an American medical doctor and surgeon who started the idea of a blood bank and a system for the long-term preservation of blood plasma (he found that plasma kept longer than whole blood). His ideas revolutionized the medical profession and have saved many, many lives.

For more information on Dr, C. R. Drew, click here.

DREW, RICHARD
tapeRichard G. Drew (1899-1980) invented masking tape and clear adhesive tape (also called cellophane tape or Scotch tape). Drew was an engineer for the 3M company (the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing).

Drew's first tape invention was a masking tape made for painters in 1923 (this tape was designed to help painters paint a straight border between two colors). This early masking tape was a wide paper tape with adhesive on only the edges of the tape - not in the middle. Drew made an improved tape called Scotch (TM) Brand Cellulose Tape in 1930. This tape was a clear, all-purpose adhesive tape that was soon adopted worldwide. The first tape dispenser with a built-in cutting edge was invented in 1932 by John A. Borden, another 3M employee.

EASTMAN, GEORGE
George Eastman (1854-1932) was an American inventor who made many improvements in photography. Eastman invented the dry plate method in 1879; this was an improvement in the wet plate process photographic process). He founded the Eastman Dry Plate company in 1881, located in Rochester, New York. Eastman and William Walker invented flexible roll film in 1882, eliminating the necessity of using cumbersome glass plates for photography. Eastman produced the first simple, all-purpose, fixed-focus camera in 1888, which sold for $25.00; this was the first KODAK Camera . By 1900, Eastman Kodak was producing a camera that cost only one dollar. Early cameras took round pictures. To get the film developed, the photographer had to send the entire camera to the Rochester factory. The company name was changed to Eastman Kodak Company in 1892, and is still one of the largest photographic companies in the world.
ECKERT, JOHN PRESPER
ENIAC stands for "Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer." It was one of the first all-purpose, all-electronic digital computers. This room-sized computer was built by the physicist John William Mauchly (Aug. 30, 1907 - Jan. 8, 1980) and the electrical engineer John Presper Eckert, Jr. (April 9, 1919 - June 3, 1995) at the University of Pennsylvania. They completed the machine in November, 1945.

For more information on ENIAC, click here.

EDISON, THOMAS ALVA
lightbulbEdison Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) was an American inventor (also known as the Wizard of Menlo Park) whose many inventions revolutionized the world. His work includes improving the incandescent electric light bulb and inventing the phonograph, the phonograph record, the carbon telephone transmitter, and the motion-picture projector.

Edison's first job was as a telegraph operator, and in the course of his duties, he redesigned the stock-ticker machine. The Edison Universal Stock Printer gave him the capital ($40,000) to set up a laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, to invent full-time (with many employees).

Edison experimented with thousands of different light bulb filaments to find just the right materials to glow well, be long-lasting, and be inexpensive. In 1879, Edison discovered that a carbon filament in an oxygen-free bulb glowed but did not burn up for quite a while. This incandescent bulb revolutionized the world.

For more information on Edison, click here.

ELECTRIC IRON
The electric iron was invented in 1882 by Henry W. Seeley, a New York inventor Seeley patented his "electric flatiron" on June 6, 1882 (patent no. 259,054). His iron weighed almost 15 pounds and took a long time to warm up.

Other electric irons had also been invented, including one from France (1882), but it used a carbon arc to heat the iron, a method which was dangerous.

ELEVATOR BRAKE
Elisha Graves Otis (1811-1861) invented the elevator brake, which greatly improved the safety of elevators. He used a ratchet on a spring to catch the elevator in the event of an accident (like a broken cable).

In 1854, at the Crystal Palace Exposition in New York, Otis demonstrated how safe his elevator was by cutting the elevator's cable with an ax, and the elevator car stayed where it was in the shaft. Otis' invention spurred the development of skyscrapers, changing the look of cities around the world forever.

ELION, GERTRUDE
Gertrude Belle Elion (January 23, 1918 - February 21, 1999) was a Nobel Prize winning biochemist who invented many life-saving drugs, including 6-mercaptopurine (Purinethol) and 6-thioguanine (which fight leukemia), Imuran, Zovirax, and many others. Elion worked at Burroughs-Wellcome (now called Glaxo Wellcome) for decades (beginning in 1944) with George Hitchings and Sir James Black, with whom she shared the Nobel Prize. She is named on 45 patents for drugs and her work has saved the lives of thousands of people.
ENIAC
ENIAC stands for "Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer." It was one of the first all-purpose, all-electronic digital computers. This room-sized computer was built by the physicist John William Mauchly (Aug. 30, 1907 - Jan. 8, 1980) and the electrical engineer John Presper Eckert, Jr. (April 9, 1919 - June 3, 1995) at the University of Pennsylvania. They completed the machine in November, 1945.

For more information on ENIAC, click here.

EPPERSON, FRANK
The popsicle was invented by 11-years-old Frank Epperson in 1905. Epperson (1894-?) lived in San Francisco, California. Epperson had left a fruit drink out overnight (with a stirrer in it), and it froze, making a new treat. His frozen treat was originally called the Epsicle. Epperson got a patent on his "frozen ice on a stick" many years later, in 1923. The Epsicle was later renamed the popsicle. Epperson also invented the twin popsicle (with two sticks so it could be shared by two children), Fudgsicle, Creamsicle and Dreamsicle.
ESCALATOR
An escalator is a moving stairway that helps people move easily from floor to floor in building. The escalator was invented by the American inventor Jesse W. Reno in 1891. On his "inclined elevator," passengers rode on an wedge-shaped supports attached to a conveyor belt at an incline of about 25 degrees. The original elevator had a stationary handrail (which was soon replaced with a moving handrail).

Horizontal steps were added to the escalator by Georg A. Wheeler and Charles D. Seeberger (who bought Wheeler's patent) in the late 1890's. The Otis company later bought the patents for the escalator and marketed it worldwide. The word escalator was first used at the Paris Exposition of 1900, when the Otis Company exhibited the moving stairway.

FARNSWORTH, PHILO T.
Philo Taylor Farnsworth (1906-1971) was an American inventor. Farnsworth invented many important components of the television, including power, focusing systems, synchronizing the signal, contrast, controls, and scanning. He also invented a radar system, a cold cathode ray tube, a new type of baby incubator, and the first electronic microscope. Farnsworth held over 300 patents.
FERRIS WHEEL
The Ferris Wheel is a large amusement-park ride that is made of a giant, vertical, metal wheel that slowly turns around. The wheel is equipped with hanging compartments for people, who ride around in a circle, going far above the ground. The Ferris Wheel was invented by the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania bridge-builder George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. (1859-1896) . The first Ferris wheel was opened on June 21, 1893 at the Chicago World's Fair. This Ferris wheel was 250 feet tall (the diameter of the wheel) - this is about the height of a 25 story building! It had 36 wooden cars that could each seat 40 people, and hold another 20 standing people plus a conductor. Each car was 27 feet long, 13 feet wide, and 9 feet tall. A total of 2000 people could ride the wheel at one time. The wheel was powered by two 1,000 horsepower engines and weighed over 4,000 tons. It cost 50 cents per ride. This same Ferris wheel was later used at the St. Louis exposition in 1904, but was scrapped in 1906. Ferris wheels are now common at amusement parks around the world - most are much smaller than the original.
Model T carFORD, HENRY
Henry Ford (1863-1947) was an American engineer and industrialist who used the first conveyor belt-based assembly-lines in his car factory, revolutionizing factory production. Ford manufactured affordable cars and paid high wages to his factory workers, allowing workers to buy the cars they made. After early work as a machinist, Ford built a gasoline engine in 1893. In 1896, Ford built a "horseless carriage," which he called the "Quadricycle," which means "four wheels" (others, including Charles Edgar and J. Frank Duryea, Elwood Haynes, Hiram Percy Maxim, and Charles Brady King had built earlier "horseless carriage"). In 1899, Ford formed the Detroit Automobile Company (which was later called the Henry Ford Company and then the Cadillac Motor Car Company). Ford introduced the Model T in October 1908; it was a great success (every Model T was painted black). Ford introduced conveyor belt-based assembly-line factory production and a $5 daily wage in 1913-14 in Ford's Highland Park, Michigan plant (primitive assembly line production had been started in 1901 by Ransome Eli. Olds, another early car-maker). This type of production greatly reduced the amount of time taken to put each car together (93 minutes for a Model T) from its parts, reducing production costs.
FOUNTAIN PEN
Lewis E. Waterman was an American inventor and insurance salesman who developed a relatively leak-proof fountain pen; he patented his new invention in 1884 and revolutionized writing. Before his fountain pen, pen tips had to be tipped into ink after every few words. Waterman put an ink reservoir in the pen above the pen's metal nib (point). This reservoir would hold enough ink for a few pages of writing. There were many problems in developing the fountain pen, especially the difficulty of controlling the flow of the ink. Putting a sealed reservoir above the nib wouldn't let the ink flow, but if it wasn't sealed, all the ink would flow at once. Waterman used capillary action to replace the ink in the rubber sac with air so that the ink flowed smoothly but did not flow all at once. Also, the metals in the ink dissolved the steel pen nib, so Waterman used an iridium-plated gold nib. Waterman was also the first person to place a clip on the cap of the pen.
FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN
FranklinBenjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706-April 17, 1790) was an American statesman, writer, printer, and inventor. Franklin experimented extensively with electricity. In 1752, his experiments with a kite in a thunderstorm (never do this, many people have died trying it!) led to the development of the lightning rod. Franklin started the first circulating library in the colonies in 1731. He also invented bifocal glasses and the Franklin stove. The idea of daylight savings time was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784.

For more information on Franklin, click here.

GABE, FRANCES
Frances Gabe (actually, Frances G. Bateson) (1915-) invented and patented the self-cleaning house. Gabe, who lives in Newberg, Oregon, USA, disliked housework intensely. She designed and lives in a house in which each room has a 10-inch square, "Cleaning/ Drying/ Heating/ Cooling" device on the ceiling. To clean a room, all you have to do is push a button in a room, and the cleaning unit sends a powerful spray of soapy water around the room. It then rinses and blow-dries the room. Each room has a slightly-sloping floor, so the water would drain well. Frances stored valuable objects (and things that should not get wet) under glass. The house also has self-cleaning sinks, bathtubs and toilets. Her cupbord doubles as a dishwasher and her clothes are cleaned, dried and stored while hanging in the closet. Gabe holds 68 patents. Frances said, "Housework is a thankless, unending job, a nerve-tangling bore. Who wants it? Nobody! With my jaw set hard I was determined there had to be a better way!"
GANT, ALLEN
Pantyhose was invented in 1959 by Allen Gant of North Carolina, USA, in 1959. This new undergarment became popular as miniskirts were the fashion and soon came to replace nylon stockings held up with a garter belt (short skirts were not long enough to hide the bottom of the garter belt). Gant was associated with the Glen Raven Mills textile mill (he was a descendant of the founder of the mill, John Gant), the company that first manufactured pantyhose.
GAS MASK
The gas mask was invented by Garrett Morgan, an African-American inventor. Morgan used his gas mask (patent No. 1,090,936, 1914) to rescue miners who were trapped underground in a noxious mine. Soon after, Morgan was asked to produce gas masks for the US Army. For more information on Garrett Morgan, click here.
GAYETTY, JOSEPH
toilet paperJoseph Gayetty invented toilet paper in 1857. His new toilet paper was composed of flat sheets. Before Gayetty's invention, people tore pages out of mail order catalogs - before catalogs were common, leaves were used. Unfortunately, Gayetty's invention failed. Walter Alcock (of Great Britain) later developed toilet paper on a roll ( instead of in flat sheets). Again, the invention failed.

In 1867, Thomas, Edward and Clarence Scott (brothers from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) were successful at marketing toilet paper that consisted of a small roll of perforated paper . They sold their new toilet paper from a push cart - this was the beginning of the Scott Paper Company.

GERSTENZANG, LEO
The Q-tip was invented in the 1920's Leo Gerstenzang (a Polish-born American). His wife had used a toothpick with cotton stuck on the end to clean their baby's ears, and Leo invented Q-tips to replace her jury-rigged invention. Gerstenzang's original Q-tips consisted of a wooden stick swathed in cotton at both ends; much later, the wood was replaced by white cardboard. Gerstenzang started the Infant Novelty Company to sell Q-tips (which he then called Baby Gays); in 1926, he changed the name of his product to Q-Tips® Baby Gays. The Q stood for "quality". Eventually, the name changed to Q-tips. Doctors today advise that you should not use Q-tips to clean inside your ears. Q-tips, however, have many other uses, including cleaning small areas (like jewelry or the space between computer keys), applying glue, spreading paint, etc.
GODDARD, ROBERT
Robert Hutchings Goddard (October 5, 1882-August 10, 1945) was an American physicist and inventor who is known as the father of modern rocketry. In 1907, Goddard proved that a rocket's thrust can propel it in a vacuum. In 1914, Goddard received two U.S. patents: for liquid-fueled rockets and for two- to three-stage rockets that use solid fuel. In 1919, Goddard wrote a scientific article, "A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes," describing a high-altitude rocket; it was published in a Smithsonian report. Goddard's many inventions were the basis upon which modern rocketry is based.

After many years of failed attempts and public ridicule, Goddard's first successful rocket was launched on March 16, 1926 from a relative's farm in Auburn, Massachusetts. It was a liquid-fueled 10-ft. rocket that he called Nell. The flight lasted 2 1/2 seconds; the rocket flew a distance of 184 feet and achieved an altitude of 41 feet.

Goddard soon moved to Roswell, New Mexico, where he developed more sophisticated multi-stage rockets, rockets with fins (vanes) to steer them (1932), a gyro control device to control the rocket (1932), and supersonic rockets (1935). In 1937, Goddard launched the first rocket with a pivotable motor on gimbals using his gyro control device. Altogether, Robert Goddard had 214 patents.

For more information on Goddard, click here.

GOODE, SARAH S.
Sarah E. Goode was a businesswoman and inventor. Goode invented the folding cabinet bed, a space-saver that folded up against the wall into a cabinet. When folded up, it could be used as a desk, complete with compartments for stationery and writing supplies. Goode owned a furniture store in Chicago, Illinois, and invented the bed for people living in small apartments. Goode's patent was the first one obtained by an African-American woman inventor (patent #322,177, approved on July 14, 1885).
HOPPER, GRACE M.
Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (1906 - 1992) was a US naval officer and mathematician who invented the computer compiler (called the A-O) in 1952. Her compiler revolutionized computer programming, automatically translating high-level instructions (easier to understand by people) into machine code (the cryptic, native language of the central processing unit). Hopper and a team developed the first user-friendly business programming language, COBOL (COmmon Business-Oriented Language). There is an unconfirmed story that Hopper determined than an error in the early Mark II computer was caused by a moth that was trapped in it; she then coined the term "computer bug."
HOT DOGS
Hot dogs began as sausages sold in buns. They were first sold from carts by German immigrants on the streets of New York City in the 1860s. The bun replaced a plate and made the hot dog easier to carry and eat. Sauerkraut was provided as a relish on the hot dog.
HOUGHTON, JOEL
The first dishwasher was patented in 1850 by Joel Houghton; his machine was a hand-turned wheel that splashed water on dishes - unfortunately, it wasn't very effective at washing dishes. The first working automatic dishwasher was invented by Mrs. Josephine Garis (W. A.) Cochran, of Shelbyville, Illinois, in 1889. Her dishwasher was a wooden tub with a wire basket in it - the dishes went in the basket, and rollers rotated the dishes. As a handle on the tub was turned, hot, soapy water was sprayed into the tub, cleaning the dishes. Cochran's machine was first shown at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, Illinois. At first, her machine was only bought by some restaurants and hotels. Cochran's small company was eventually associated with the KitchenAid company. The dishwasher didn't become widespread as a labor-saving machine until the 1960s.
sewing machineHOWE, ELIAS
Elias Howe (1819-1867) was American inventor who patented an improved sewing machine in 1846. His revolutionary machine used two separate threads, one threaded through the needle, and one in a shuttle; it was powered by a hand crank. A sideways-moving needle with its eye at one end would pierce the fabric, creating a loop of thread on the other side; a shuttle would then push thread through the loop, creating a tight lock stitch. Earlier sewing machines used only one thread and a chain stitch that could unravel. Howe's business did not thrive. Others, like Isaac Singer made slight modifications in the machine and built successful businesses. Howe sued those who had infringed on his patent and won royalties on all machines sold (he was paid $5.00 for each sewing machine sold). Howe died the year his patent expired.
HYATT, JOHN WESLEY
Celluloid is a plastic made from cellulose (it is derived from plants). This very flammable material was invented in 1869 by the American inventor John Wesley Hyatt (it was invented to be a substitute for the elephant ivory used for billiard balls). Celluloid was one the first plastics invented; it can be damaged by moisture.
HYDE, IDA HENRIETTA
Henrietta HydeIda Henrietta Hyde (1857-1945) was an American physiologist who invented the microelectrode in the 1930's. The microelectrode is a small device that electrically (or chemically) stimulates a living cell and records the electrical activity within that cell. Hyde was the first woman to graduate from the University of Heidelberg, to do research at the Harvard Medical School and to be elected to the American Physiological Society.
INCANDESCENT LIGHT BULB
lightbulbThe first incandescent electric light was made in 1800 by Humphry Davy, an English scientist. He experimented with electricity and invented an electric battery. When he connected wires to his battery and a piece of carbon, the carbon glowed, producing light. This is called an electric arc.

Much later, in 1860, the English physicist Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (1828-1914) was determined to devise a practical, long-lasting electric light. He found that a carbon paper filament worked well, but burned up quickly. In 1878, he demonstrated his new electric lamps in Newcastle, England.

The inventor Thomas Alva Edison (in the USA) experimented with thousands of different filaments to find just the right materials to glow well and be long-lasting. In 1879, Edison discovered that a carbon filament in an oxygen-free bulb glowed but did not burn up for 40 hours. Edison eventually produced a bulb that could glow for over 1500 hours. The incandescent bulb revolutionized the world.

For more information, click here.

INTEGRATED CIRCUIT
An integrated circuit (IC) or chip is a wafer of material to which impurities have been added (in just the right patterns) so that the entire chip is a circuit composed of many transistors. The chip (usually made of silicon or germanium) makes computational devices, like computers, very small and very inexpensive. IC's were invented independently in 1959 by Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce.
INTERCHANGEABLE PARTS
Clock makers used the idea of interchangeable parts since the early 1700's. In 1790, the French gunsmith Honoré Blanc demonstrated his muskets entirely made from interchangeable parts; the French government didn't like the process (since with this process, anyone could manufacture items, and the government lost control), so it was stopped. The idea of interchangeable parts was introduced to American gun manufacturing by Eli Whitney (1765-1825) in 1798. The concept of interchangeable manufacturing parts helped modernize the musket industry (and mass production in general). Whitney made templates for each separate part of the musket (an early gun). The workers then used the template when chiseling the part. Whitney was an American inventor and engineer who also invented the cotton gin.
INVISALIGN
Invisalign is a new type of transparent, removable, molded braces that snap over the teeth. They were invented by Zia Chishti and developed with the help of a team of engineers. A person's teeth are scanned using a computer. A series of braces are produced; each set is designed to shift the teeth a small amount. The patient wears a series of aligners over time; the process takes from 6 months to 2 years. Only adults are fitted with these braces because the process only works with permanent teeth. Chishti and Kelsey Wirth founded Align Technology in 1997 to develop the braces. Invisalign braces were first available to the public in May, 2000.
IRON, ELECTRIC
The electric iron was invented in 1882 by Henry W. Seeley, a New York inventor Seeley patented his "electric flatiron" on June 6, 1882 (patent no. 259,054). His iron weighed almost 15 pounds and took a long time to warm up.

Other electric irons had also been invented, including one from France (1882), but it used a carbon arc to heat the iron, a method which was dangerous.

JAMES, RICHARD
The engineer Richard James (1914-1974) invented the Slinky TM in 1943. This spring-toy came about by accident as James was developing springs to support sensitive equipment on ships. James invented a manufacturing machine that could make a Slinky TM from 80 feet of steel wire in 10 seconds. His wife Betty James (1918- ) named the Slinky TM and runs the company that produces it.
JANSKY, KARL
Karl Gothe Jansky (1905-1949) was an American radio engineer who pioneered and developed radio astronomy. In 1932, he detected the first radio waves from a cosmic source - in the central region of the Milky Way Galaxy.
Levi StraussJEANS
Levi Strauss (1829-1902) was an entrepreneur who invented and marketed blue jeans. Trained as a tailor in Buttenheim, Bavaria, Germany, Strauss went to San Francisco, USA from New York in 1853. Strauss sold dry goods, including tents and linens to the 49ers (the people who came to the California gold rush, which began in 1849). In 1873, Strauss and Jacob Davis, a Nevada tailor, patented the idea (devised by Davis) of using copper rivets at the stress points of sturdy work pants. Early levis, called "waist overalls," came in a brown canvas duck fabric and a heavy blue denim fabric. The duck fabric pants were not very successful, so were dropped early on. His business became extremely successful (and still is), revolutionizing the apparel industry.
JudsonzipperJUDSON, WHITCOMB L.
Whitcomb L. Judson was an American engineer from Chicago, Illinois, who invented the a metal zipper device with locking teeth in 1890. Judson patented his "clasp-locker'' on Aug. 29, 1893; later in 1893, he exhibited this new invention at the Chicago World's Fair. He never succeeded in marketing his new device. The zipper was improved by the Swedish-American engineer, Gideon Sundbach, and was named by the B.F. Goodrich company in 1923. Judson died in 1909, before his device became commonly used and well known.
KAMEN, DEAN
Dean Kamen is an American inventor who has invented many revolutionary devices and holds over 35 U.S. patents. He developed the portable medical infusion pump, which allows patients to receive medication, like insulin, away from the hospital, and has allowed diabetic women to carry and deliver babies much more safely. Kamen designed the iBot, a revolutionary wheelchair (that uses gyroscopes and computers) that the user "wears" - it allows increased mobility (it can even climb stairs) and improved social interaction (the user can "stand"). He also invented intravascular stents (devices that hold blocked arteries open) and the portable kidney dialysis machine, which has enabled kidney dialysis patients to avoid long hospital visits - they can do the dialysis themselves while they sleep. The Segway is a rechargable electric, single-person vehicle he invented.

Kamen founded an educational learning center for children called Science Enrichment Encounters (or "SEE"), and FIRST ("For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology") which has a yearly robot competition for high school students.

KARLE, ISABELLA L.
Isabella Helen Lugoski Karle (1921- ) is a American physical chemist who invented new methods of X-ray Crystallography. She used electron diffraction and then x-ray diffraction to study the structure of molecules. Karle developed a three-dimensional modeling process, enabling her to identify and show the structures of hundreds of complex and important molecules (including alkaloids, ionophores, steroids, toxins, and peptides [amino acid compounds]). Because of Karle's process, the number of published molecular analyses has jumped from about 150 to over 10,000 per year. Karle received the National Medal of Science in 1995. Karle is a senior scientist and head of the Naval Research Laboratory's (NRL) x-ray diffraction section in the Laboratory for the Structure of Matter. Karle's husband, Jerome Karle, is a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry.
KEVLAR
Kevlar (poly[p-phenyleneterephtalamide]) is a polymer fiber that is five times stronger than the same weight of steel. Kevlar is used in bullet-proof vests, helmets, trampolines, tennis rackets, and many other commonly-used objects. Kevlar was invented by Stephanie Louise Kwolek and was first marketed by DuPont in 1971.
K'NEX
The toy construction set called K'NEX was invented in 1990 by Joel Glickman. Joel had been playing with straws while at a wedding and realized that with some simple connectors, they would make a great building set. His plastic rod and connector construction set soon became popular worldwide. K'NEX are made by K'NEX Industries, Inc., a privately held company, and are distributed by the toy company Hasbro.
KOOL AID
The powdered drink Kool-Aid was invented in 1927 by the chemist Edwin Perkins of Nebraska Omaha. Perkins started a company in 1914 that sold perfume and calling cards; it was called the Perkins Products Company. Originally located in Hendley, Nebraska, they moved to Hastings, Nebraska (about 90 miles west of Lincoln) in 1920, and expanded their product line to include spices, medicines, more toilet preparations, and other household items.

Kool-Aid was originally a liquid called "Fruit Smack," and was sold in a 4-ounce bottles. It was later renamed Kool-Ade (and later, Kool-Aid), and sold in powdered form in packets. The seven original Kool-Aid flavors were: Cherry, Lemon-Lime, Grape, Orange, Root Beer, Strawberry, and Raspberry. The Kool-Aid factory later moved to Chicago, Illinois, and was bought by General Foods Corporation in 1953.

KWOLEK, STEPHANIE LOUISE
Stephanie Louise Kwolek (1923- ) is an American chemist who discovered kevlar and many other para-aramid fibers. Kevlar (poly[p-phenyleneterephtalamide]) is a polymer fiber that is five times stronger than the same weight of steel. Kevlar is used in bullet-proof vests, helmets, trampolines, tennis rackets, and many other commonly-used objects.
LAND, E. H.
Edwin Herbert Land (1909-1991) was an American physicist and inventor who developed the first modern light polarizers (which eliminate glare) and other optical devices, investigated the mechanisms of color perception, and developed the instant photography process (the Polaroid camera). Land established the Polaroid Corp. in 1937.
LATIMER, LEWIS H.
Light BulbLewis Howard Latimer (1848-1928) was an African-American inventor who was a member of Edison's research team, which was called "Edison's Pioneers." Latimer improved the newly-invented incandescent light bulb by inventing a carbon filament (which he patented in 1881).

For more information on Lewis Howard Latimer, click here.

LIFE SAVERS
The candy called "Life Savers" was invented in 1912 by Clarence Crane, a chocolate maker from Cleveland, Ohio. His original Life Saver was a life-preserver-shaped peppermint candy called "Pep-O-Mint." Crane designed it as a summer candy - one that would not melt in the summer heat. He bought a pill-making machine to make the candies, and then punched a hole in the middle. Since they looked like little life preservers, he called them Life Savers. In 1913, he sold the rights to his candy to Edward Noble for only $2,900. Noble then sold Life Savers in many flavors, including the original peppermint. There are now 24 flavors; they are manufactured in Holland, Michigan.
LIGHT BULB, INCANDESCENT
lightbulbThe first incandescent electric light was made in 1800 by Humphry Davy, an English scientist. He experimented with electricity and invented an electric battery. When he connected wires to his battery and a piece of carbon, the carbon glowed, producing light. This is called an electric arc.

Much later, in 1860, the English physicist Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (1828-1914) was determined to devise a practical, long-lasting electric light. He found that a carbon paper filament worked well, but burned up quickly. In 1878, he demonstrated his new electric lamps in Newcastle, England.

The inventor Thomas Alva Edison (in the USA) experimented with thousands of different filaments to find just the right materials to glow well and be long-lasting. In 1879, Edison discovered that a carbon filament in an oxygen-free bulb glowed but did not burn up for 40 hours. Edison eventually produced a bulb that could glow for over 1500 hours. The incandescent bulb revolutionized the world.

For more information, click here.

LINCOLN LOGS
Lincoln Logs are a popular children's toy building set that consists of interlocking notched logs. Children can easily make log cabins and other structures from the tiny wooden logs.

Lincoln Logs were invented in 1916 by John Lloyd Wright (1892-1972), an architect and one of the five children of the world-famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. John patented his toy in 1920, and sold the logs through his toy company, the Red Square Toy Company. Playskool bought the rights to Lincoln Logs in 1943.

LIQUID PAPER
Liquid Paper is a quick-drying, paper-colored (white) liquid that is painted onto paper to correct printed material. Liquid Paper was invented in 1951 by Bessie Nesmith (1922-1980). It was based on white tempera paint (Nesmith was also an artist). Nesmith was a secretary in Texas, USA, before the time of word processors. She began selling her vastly popular invention, and soon ran the very successful Liquid Paper company. Her son, Michael Nesmith, was a member of the rock group called the Monkees.
MAGEE, CARL
The parking meter is a device for generating money from a parking spot. When you put money in the meter, you are allowed to park for a given amount of time - after that, you can be given a parking ticket.

The parking meter was invented by Carl C. Magee of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA. The first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City. Magee holds a patent (#2,118,318) for a "coin controlled parking meter," filed on May 13, 1935 and issued on May 24, 1938.

MAILBOX
The street letter drop mailbox with a hinged door that closed to protect the mail was invented by Philip B. Downing. Downing, an African-American inventor, patented his new device on October 27, 1891 (US Patent # 462,093).
MASKING TAPE
tapeRichard G. Drew (1899-1980) invented masking tape and clear adhesive tape (also called cellophane tape or Scotch tape). Drew was an engineer for the 3M company (the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing).

Drew's first tape invention was a masking tape made for painters in 1923 (this tape was designed to help painters paint a straight border between two colors). This early masking tape was a wide paper tape with adhesive on only the edges of the tape - not in the middle. Drew made an improved tape called Scotch (TM) Brand Cellulose Tape in 1930. This tape was a clear, all-purpose adhesive tape that was soon adopted worldwide. The first tape dispenser with a built-in cutting edge was invented in 1932 by John A. Borden, another 3M employee.

MAUCHLEY, JOHN WILLIAM
ENIAC stands for "Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer." It was one of the first all-purpose, all-electronic digital computers. This room-sized computer was built by the physicist John William Mauchly (Aug. 30, 1907 - Jan. 8, 1980) and the electrical engineer John Presper Eckert, Jr. (April 9, 1919 - June 3, 1995) at the University of Pennsylvania. They completed the machine in November, 1945.

For more information on ENIAC, click here.

McCORMICK, CYRUS HALL
1931 McCormick reaperCyrus Hall McCormick (February 15, 1809 - May 13, 1884) was an American inventor (of Irish descent) who developed the mechanical reaper. His new machine combined many of the steps involved in harvesting crops, greatly increased crop yields, decreased the number of field hands needed for the harvest, lowered costs, and revolutionized farming.

For more information on McCormick, click here.

McCOY, ELIJAH
Elijah McCoy (1843 or 1844-1929) was a mechanical engineer and inventor. McCoy's high-quality industrial inventions (especially his steam engine lubricator) were the basis for the expression "the real McCoy," meaning the real, authentic, or high-quality thing.

For more information on Elijah McCoy, click here. For a cloze activity on McCoy, click here.

McVICKER, NOAH and JOSEPH
Play-Doh, a popular children's modeling clay, was invented by Noah W. McVicker and Joseph S. McVicker. They patented Play-Doh in 1956 (patent # 3,167,440). The original Play-Doh was sold in only one color, off- white. Eventually, many colors were marketed. Over 700 million pounds of Play-Doh have been sold, but the formula is still a secret.
MECHANICAL REAPER
1931 McCormick reaperCyrus Hall McCormick (February 15, 1809 - May 13, 1884) was an American inventor (of Irish descent) who developed the mechanical reaper. His new machine combined many of the steps involved in harvesting crops, greatly increased crop yields, decreased the number of field hands needed for the harvest, lowered costs, and revolutionized farming.

For more information on McCormick, click here.

MEDICINE BALL
The medicine ball is a weighed ball used in strength training; medicine balls range from 2 to 60 pounds in weight. The medicine ball was invented by William "Iron Duke" Muldoon, a nineteenth-century wrestling champion and boxing trainer.
MICROELECTRODE
Henrietta HydeIda Henrietta Hyde (1857-1945) was an American physiologist who invented the microelectrode in the 1930's. The microelectrode is a small device that electrically (or chemically) stimulates a living cell and records the electrical activity within that cell. Hyde was the first woman to graduate from the University of Heidelberg, to do research at the Harvard Medical School and to be elected to the American Physiological Society.
MICROWAVE OVEN
The microwave oven was invented as an accidental by-product of war-time (World War 2) radar research using magnetrons (vacuum tubes that produce microwave radiation). In 1946, the engineer Dr. Percy LeBaron Spencer, who worked for the Raytheon Corporation, was working on magnetrons. One day at work, he had a candy bar in his pocket, and found that it had melted. He realized that the microwaves he was working with had caused it to melt. After experimenting, he realized that microwaves would cook foods quickly - even faster than conventional ovens that cook with heat. The Raytheon Corporation produced the first commercial microwave oven in 1954; it was called the 1161 Radarange.

For more on the microwave oven, click here.

MOBILE
calder fakeMobiles are airy, hanging sculptures that move with the wind. Alexander Calder (1898-1976), an American sculptor, invented the mobile in the early 20th century. His mobiles eventually became famous worldwide.

For more information on Calder and his art, click here.

MOORE, EDWIN
The push pin ("a thumbtack with an elongated handle that makes it easier to put in and remove") was invented by the Pennsylvanian inventor Edwin Moore in 1900. Moore started a company producing these useful pins in 1900. After years of growing, his company incorporated on July 19, 1904, and was called the "Moore Push-Pin Company." The company 1912 through 1977, the Company was located in Germantown, Pennsylvania.

MORGAN, GARRETT
MorganGarrett Augustus Morgan (March 4, 1877 - August 27, 1963), was an African-American inventor and businessman. He was the first person to patent a traffic signal. He also developed the gas mask (and many other inventions). Morgan used his gas mask (patent No. 1,090,936, 1914) to rescue miners who were trapped underground in a noxious mine. Soon after, Morgan was asked to produce gas masks for the US Army.

For more information on Morgan, click here.

MORSE, SAMUEL F. B.
radioSamuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872) was an American inventor and painter. After a successful career painting in oils (first painting historical scenes and then portraits), Morse built the first American telegraph around 1835 (the telegraph was also being developed independently in Europe).

A telegraph sends electrical signals over a long distance, through wires. In 1830, Joseph Henry (1797-1878) made the first long-distance telegraphic device - he sent an electric current for over a mile on wire that activated an electromagnet, causing a bell to ring.

Morse patented a working telegraph machine in 1837, with help from his business partners Leonard Gale and Alfred Vail. Morse used a dots-and-spaces code for the letters of the alphabet and the numbers (Morse Code was later improved to use dots, dashes and spaces: for example E is dot, T is dash, A is dot-dash, N is dash-dot, O is dash-dash-dash, I is dot-dot, S is dot-dot-dot, etc.). By 1838, Morse could send 10 words per minute. Congress provided funds for building a telegraph line between Washington D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, in 1843. Morse sent the first telegraphic message (from Washington D.C. to Baltimore) on May 24, 1844; the message was: "What hath God wrought?" The telegraph revolutionized long-distance communications.

radioMOTORCYCLE
The earliest motorcycle was a coal-powered, two-cylinder, steam-driven motorcycle that was developed in 1867 by the American inventor Sylvester Howard Roper. A gas-powered motorcycle was invented by the German inventor Gottlieb Daimler in 1885. His mostly wooden motorcycle had iron-banded wheels with wooden spokes. This bone-crunching vehicle was powered by a single-cylinder engine.
MULDOON, WILLIAM
The medicine ball is a weighed ball used in strength training; medicine balls range from 2 to 60 pounds in weight. The medicine ball was invented by William "Iron Duke" Muldoon, a nineteenth-century wrestling champion and boxing trainer.
basket ballNAISMITH, JAMES
James Naismith (1861-1939) was a Canadian physical education instructor who invented the game of basketball in 1891. He developed this indoor game so that his students could participate in sports during the winter. In his original game, which he invented while at the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association), Naismith used a soccer ball which were thrown into peach baskets (with their bottoms intact). The first public basketball game was in Springfield, MA, USA, on March 11, 1892. Basketball was first played at the Olympics in Berlin Germany in 1936 (America won the gold medal, and Naismith was there). Naismith was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978.
NESMITH, BESSIE
Liquid Paper is a quick-drying, paper-colored (white) liquid that is painted onto paper to correct printed material. Liquid Paper was invented in 1951 by Bessie Nesmith (1922-1980). It was based on white tempera paint (Nesmith was also an artist). Nesmith was a secretary in Texas, USA, before the time of word processors. She began selling her vastly popular invention, and soon ran the very successful Liquid Paper company. Her son, Michael Nesmith, was a member of the rock group called the Monkees.
OTIS, ELISHA GRAVES
Elisha Graves Otis (1811-1861) was an American mechanic and inventor. Otis invented the elevator brake, which greatly improved the safety of elevators. He used a ratchet on a spring to catch the elevator in the event of an accident (like a broken cable). In 1854, at the Crystal Palace Exposition in New York, Otis demonstrated how safe his elevator was by cutting the elevator's cable with an ax, and the elevator car stayed where it was in the shaft. Otis' invention spurred the development of skyscrapers, changing the look of cities around the world forever. Otis also invented a railway safety brake and improvements to turbine engines and brass bed frames.
PANTYHOSE
Pantyhose was invented in 1959 by Allen Gant of North Carolina, USA, in 1959. This new undergarment became popular as miniskirts were the fashion and soon came to replace nylon stockings held up with a garter belt (short skirts were not long enough to hide the bottom of the garter belt). Gant was associated with the Glen Raven Mills textile mill (he was a descendant of the founder of the mill, John Gant), the company that first manufactured pantyhose.
PARACHUTE
A parachute is a device for slowing down one's descent while falling to the ground. Parachutes are used to skydive from airplanes, to jump from very high places, and to help slow down the descent of spacecraft. Parachutes are also used to slow down some race cars. The early parachutes were made from canvas (a strong cotton cloth). Light-weight (but very strong) silk cloth was then introduced for parachutes. Modern-day parachutes use nylon fabric.

The idea of using a parachute to fall gently to the ground was written about by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). The first parachute was demonstrated by Louis-Sébastien Lenormand in 1783 of France - he jumped from a very tall tree carrying two parasols (umbrellas). A few years later, some adventurous people jumped from hot-air balloons using primitive parachutes. The first person to jump from a flying airplane (and survive the fall) was Captain Albert Berry, who jumped from a U.S. Army plane in 1912. Parachutes were first used in war towards the end of World War 1.

PARKING METER
The parking meter is a device for generating money from a parking spot. When you put money in the meter, you are allowed to park for a given amount of time - after that, you can be given a parking ticket.

The parking meter was invented by Carl C. Magee of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA. The first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City. Magee holds a patent (#2,118,318) for a "coin controlled parking meter," filed on May 13, 1935 and issued on May 24, 1938.

PEMBERTON, JOHN
Dr. John Stith Pemberton (1830-1888) was an American pharmacist, soldier, and inventor. He invented Coca-Cola on May 8th, 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He had invented many syrups, medicines, and elixirs before, including a very popular drink called French Wine of Coca, which contained French Bordeaux wine, coca leaves, and caffeine (from the kola nut).

When Atlanta banned alcohol consumption in 1885, Pemberton had to change the formula of his French Wine of Coca, omitting the French wine. He added sugar, citric acid and essential oils of many fruits to the drink, and the original Coca-Cola was created. It was named for its main ingredients, coca leaves and the kola nut. Coca-Cola quickly became a very popular soda fountain drink.

Pemberton became partners with Frank Robinson and David Roe, but the partners soon began to quarrel and Pemberton soon sold his interest in Coca-Cola. The formula for Coca-Cola is a closely-guarded secret.

PHONOGRAPHS AND OTHER RECORD PLAYERS
RecordRecords, used to record sound, were invented in 1877 by Thomas Alva Edison, who invented the first machine to record and play back sounds (the phonograph or record player). Early records were cylindrical, but flat disks soon replaced them.

For more information on the history of records, click here.

PLAY-DOH
Play-Doh, a popular children's modeling clay, was invented by Noah W. McVicker and Joseph S. McVicker. They patented Play-Doh in 1956 (patent # 3,167,440). The original Play-Doh was sold in only one color, off- white. Eventually, many colors were marketed. Over 700 million pounds of Play-Doh have been sold, but the formula is still a secret.
POLAROID CAMERA
The Polaroid camera is a camera that develops the photograph while you wait (one-step photography ). It was invented by Edwin Herbert Land (1909-1991), an American physicist and inventor who also investigated the mechanisms of color perception, developed the first modern light polarizers (which eliminate glare), and other optical devices. Land established the Polaroid Corp. in 1937.
POPSICLE
The popsicle was invented by 11-years-old Frank Epperson in 1905. Epperson (1894-?) lived in San Francisco, California. Epperson had left a fruit drink out overnight (with a stirrer in it), and it froze, making a new treat. His frozen treat was originally called the Epsicle. Epperson got a patent on his "frozen ice on a stick" many years later, in 1923. The Epsicle was later renamed the popsicle. Epperson also invented the twin popsicle (with two sticks so it could be shared by two children), Fudgsicle, Creamsicle and Dreamsicle.
PORTABLE KIDNEY DIALYSIS MACHINE and PORTABLE MEDICAL INFUSION PUMP
Dean Kamen is an American inventor who has invented many revolutionary devices and holds over 35 U.S. patents. He developed the portable medical infusion pump, which allows patients to receive medication, like insulin, away from the hospital, and has allowed diabetic women to carry and deliver babies much more safely. Kamen designed the iBot, a revolutionary wheelchair (that uses gyroscopes and computers) that the user "wears" - it allows increased mobility (it can even climb stairs) and improved social interaction (the user can "stand"). He also invented intravascular stents (devices that hold blocked arteries open) and the portable kidney dialysis machine, which has enabled kidney dialysis patients to avoid long hospital visits - they can do the dialysis themselves while they sleep. The Segway is a rechargable electric, single-person vehicle he invented.

Kamen founded an educational learning center for children called Science Enrichment Encounters (or "SEE"), and FIRST ("For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology") which has a yearly robot competition for high school students.

POTATO CHIPS
The potato chip was invented in 1853 by George Crum. Crum was a Native American/African American chef at the Moon Lake Lodge resort in Saratoga Springs, New York, USA. French fries were popular at the restaurant and one day a diner complained that the fries were too thick. Although Crum made a thinner batch, the customer was still unsatisfied. Crum finally made fries that were too thin to eat with a fork, hoping to annoy the extremely fussy customer. The customer, surprisingly enough, was happy - and potato chips were invented!

For more information on George Crum and potato chips, click here.

PUSHPIN
The push pin ("a thumbtack with an elongated handle that makes it easier to put in and remove") was invented by the Pennsylvanian inventor Edwin Moore in 1900. Moore started a company producing these useful pins in 1900. After years of growing, his company incorporated on July 19, 1904, and was called the "Moore Push-Pin Company." The company 1912 through 1977, the Company was located in Germantown, Pennsylvania.

Q-TIPS
The Q-tip was invented in the 1920's Leo Gerstenzang (a Polish-born American). His wife had used a toothpick with cotton stuck on the end to clean their baby's ears, and Leo invented Q-tips to replace her jury-rigged invention. Gerstenzang's original Q-tips consisted of a wooden stick swathed in cotton at both ends; much later, the wood was replaced by white cardboard. Gerstenzang started the Infant Novelty Company to sell Q-tips (which he then called Baby Gays); in 1926, he changed the name of his product to Q-Tips® Baby Gays. The Q stood for "quality". Eventually, the name changed to Q-tips. Doctors today advise that you should not use Q-tips to clean inside your ears. Q-tips, however, have many other uses, including cleaning small areas (like jewelry or the space between computer keys), applying glue, spreading paint, etc.
radioRADIO
The radio was invented by Nikola Tesla. The radio was promoted and popularized by Guglielmo Marconi in 1895. The first radio transmission across an ocean (the Atlantic Ocean) occurred on December 12, 1901.
RADIOIMMUNOASSAY
Dr. Solomon A. Berson (1919-1972) and Dr. Rosalyn Sussman Yalow (1921- ) co-invented the radioimmunoassay (RIA) in 1959. The radioimmunoassay is a method of chemically analyzing human blood and tissue and is used diagnose illness (like diabetes). RIA revolutionized diagnoses because it uses only a tiny sample of blood or tissue and is a relatively inexpensive and simple test to perform. Blood banks use RIA to screen blood; RIA is used to detect drug use, high blood pressure, infertility, and many other conditions and diseases. For inventing RIA, Yalow won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1977 (Yalow accepted for Berson, who died in 1972). Yalow and Berson did not patent the RIA; instead they allowed the common use of RIA to benefit human health.
radiotelescopeRADIO TELESCOPE
A radio telescope is a metal dish that gathers radio waves from space. Radio astronomy involves exploring space by examining radio waves from outer space. Radio astronomy was pioneered by Karl G. Jansky, who in 1932 first detected radio waves from a cosmic source - in the central region of the Milky Way Galaxy. Gote Reber (a ham radio operator) made the first true radio telescope (using a 32-foot diameter parabolic dish to focus the radio waves) after reading of Jansky's discoveries. One example of a radio telescope is the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico.
RECORDS AND RECORD PLAYERS
RecordRecords, used to record sound, were invented in 1877 by Thomas Alva Edison, who invented the first machine to record and play back sounds (the phonograph or record player). Early records were cylindrical, but flat disks soon replaced them.

For more information on the history of records, click here.

REFRIGERATOR
The first method of refrigeration (cooling air by the evaporation of liquids in a vacuum) was invented in 1748 by William Cullen of the University of Glasgow, Scotland; Cullen did not apply his discovery to any practical purposes. Michael Farady, an English physicist liquefied ammonia to cause cooling (in the 1800's). Faraday's idea would eventually lead to the development of compressors, which compress gas to liquid form. The American inventor Oliver Evans designed the first refrigeration machine in 1805. In 1844, John Gorrie, an American doctor from Florida made a device based on Evans' invention that would make ice in order to cool the air for yellow fever patients.

The first electric refrigerator was invented in 1803 by Thomas Moore. The first commercial refrigerator designed to keep food cold was sold in 1911 (by the General Electric Company) and in 1913 (invented by Fred W. Wolf of Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA); these model consisted of a unit that was mounted on top of an ice box. A self-contained refrigerator (with a compressor on the bottom of the cabinet) was invented by Alfred Mellowes in 1915. Mellowes produced this refrigerator commercially (each unit was hand made), but was bought out by W.C. Durant (the president of General Motors) in 1918, who started the Frigidaire Company in order to mass-produce refrigerators in the USA.

RENO, JESSE W.
Jesse W. Reno was an American inventor who developed the first escalator in 1891. An escalator is a moving stairway that helps people move easily from floor to floor in building. On his "inclined elevator," passengers rode on an wedge-shaped supports attached to a conveyor belt at an incline of about 25 degrees. The original elevator had a stationary handrail (which was soon replaced with a moving handrail).
REVOLVING DOOR
The revolving door was invented in 1888 by Theophilus Van Kannel of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. in high-rise buildings, regular doors are hard to open because there is a slight vacuum caused by air flowing upwards through stairwells, elevator shafts, and chimneys. Van Kannel's new type of door was easy to open in tall building (and also saved heat in the winter). Van Kannel patented the revolving door on August 7, 1888.
RILLIEUX, NORBERT
Norbert Rillieux (March 17, 1806-October 8, 1894) was an African-American inventor and engineer who invented a device that revolutionized sugar processing. Rillieux's multiple effect vacuum sugar evaporator (patented in 1864) made the processing of sugar more efficient, faster, and much safer. The resulting sugar was also superior. His apparatus was eventually adopted by sugar processing plants all around the world.

For more information on Rillieux, click here.

RITTY, JAMES
The mechanical cash register was invented (and patented) in 1879 by James Ritty (1836-1918). Ritty was an American tavern keeper in Dayton, Ohio. He nicknamed his cash register the "Incorruptible Cashier," and started the National Manufacturing Company to sell them. When a transaction was completed, a bell rang on the cash register and the amount was noted on a large dial on the front of the machine. During each sale, a paper tape was punched with holes so that the merchant could keep track of sales (at the end of the day, the merchant could add up the holes).

John H. Patterson (1844-1922) bought Ritty's patent and his cash register company in 1884. Patterson renamed the Dayton, Ohio, company the National Cash Register Company. Patterson improved Ritty's cash register by adding a paper tape that kept a printed record of all transactions.

In 1906, Charles F. Kettering (and employee of NCR) developed an electric cash register (Kettering later worked for General Motors and invented the electric car ignition).

The National Cash Register Company was later called NCR, until the company was bought by ATT in 1991; it was given back the name NCR in 1996, when it was split off from ATT.

radioROPER, SYLVESTER HOWARD
Sylvester Howard Roper (1823-1896) was an American inventor from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Roper developed a coal-powered, two-cylinder, steam-driven wooden motorcycle in 1867. Roper also developed a steam-driven car. Roper died at the age of 73 while testing a new motorcycle.
SAFETY PIN
safety pinThe safety pin was invented by Walter Hunt in 1849. Hunt 1795-1859) patented the safety pin on April 10, 1849 (patent No. 6,281). Hunt's pin was made by twisting a length of wire. Hunt invented the safety pin in order to pay a debt of $15; he eventually sold the rights to his patent for $400.

For more information, click here .

SALK, JONAS
Jonas Salk (1914-1995) was a research physician who formulated a vaccine against the devastating disease polio. Poliomyelitis, also called infantile paralysis, had crippled thousands of children during an epidemic that hit the world during the 1940's and 1950's. It is estimated that one of every 5,000 people (mostly children) fell victim to polio. Some victims were totally paralyzed and need to live in "iron lungs" (a large apparatus that helped the patient breathe). Salk's developed his vaccine in 1947, while working at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. The vaccine was made from killed polio virus. In 1955, after many trials of the new vaccine, the vaccine was made public, and put an end to the polio epidemic. Salk wrote many books, including: "Man Unfolding" (1972), "The Survival of the Wisest "(1973), "World Population and Human Values: A New Reality" (1981), and "Anatomy of Reality" (1983). When Salk died, he had been working on a vaccine for the AIDS virus.
SCOTT BROTHERS
toilet paperJoseph Gayetty invented toilet paper in 1857. His new toilet paper was composed of flat sheets. Before Gayetty's invention, people tore pages out of mail order catalogs - before catalogs were common, leaves were used. Unfortunately, Gayetty's invention failed. Walter Alcock (of Great Britain) later developed toilet paper on a roll ( instead of in flat sheets). Again, the invention failed.

In 1867, Thomas, Edward and Clarence Scott (brothers from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) were successful at marketing toilet paper that consisted of a small roll of perforated paper . They sold their new toilet paper from a push cart - this was the beginning of the Scott Paper Company.

SCRABBLE®
scrabble boardThe word game Scrabble® was developed by Alfred Mosher Butts in 1948. James Brunot did some rearranging of the squares and simplified the rules. A copyright was granted on December 1, 1948. Alfred Butts had been an architect, but lost his job in 1931 (during the depression). He then began developing games, including Lexico, Criss-Crosswords, and them Scrabble®. After about 4 years of paltry sales, Scrabble® became a hit.
SEELEY, HENRY W.
The electric iron was invented in 1882 by Henry W. Seeley, a New York inventor Seeley patented his "electric flatiron" on June 6, 1882 (patent no. 259,054). His iron weighed almost 15 pounds and took a long time to warm up.

Other electric irons had also been invented, including one from France (1882), but it used a carbon arc to heat the iron, a method which was dangerous.

sewing machineSEWING MACHINE
The first functional sewing machine was invented by the French tailor Barthélemy Thimonnier in 1830. Other tailors feared for their livelihood, and burnt his workshop down. Elias Howe was American inventor who patented an improved sewing machine in 1846. Howe's revolutionary machine used two separate threads, one threaded through the needle, and one in a shuttle; it was powered by a hand crank. A sideways-moving needle with its eye at one end would pierce the fabric, creating a loop of thread on the other side; a shuttle would then push thread through the loop, creating a tight lock stitch. Earlier sewing machines used only one thread and a chain stitch that could unravel. Howe's business did not thrive. Others, like Isaac M. Singer made slight modifications in the machine and built successful businesses. Howe sued those who had infringed on his patent and won royalties on all machines sold (he was paid $5.00 for each sewing machine sold). Howe died the year his patent expired.
SEXTANT
The sextant is an astronomical instrument that is used to determine latitude for navigation. It does this by measuring angular distances, like the altitude of the sun, moon and stars. The sextant was invented independently in both England and America in 1731. The sextant replaced the astrolabe. The word sextant comes from the Latin word meaning "one sixth."
SHOALES, CHRISTOPHER
basket ballThe first typewriter was invented in 1867 by the American printer and editor Christopher Latham Sholes (Feb. 14, 1819 - Feb. 17, 1890). Sholes' prototype had the user hit a key (for each letter and number), which struck upward onto a flat plate, producing a carbon impression of the letter or number on the paper. He made the prototype using the key of an old telegraph transmitter. There was no way of spacing the letters, no carriage return, and no shift keys; these features would be added to later models.

Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soulé also worked in the Kleinstuber Machine Shop with Sholes, and they helped with his inventions. Their first patent was obtained on June 23, 1868. Sholes and Glidden sold the rights to their invention to the investor James Densmore, who eventually had the machine commercially manufactured. Their first commercial model was called the "Sholes & Glidden Type Writer," and was later called the Remington typewriter. It was produced by the gunmakers E. Remington & Sons in Ilion, NY, from 1874-1878. The first author to submit a typed book manuscript was Mark Twain. Sholes' typewriter was the beginning of a revolution in communication.

SILLY PUTTY
Silly putty was invented in 1943 by the General Electric engineer James Wright, who was trying to invent a synthetic rubber during World War 2. He made it from boric acid and silicone oil, which forms a weird polymerized compound. Wright could find no uses for this bouncy, gooey substance. Peter Hodgson, who worked in marketing, realized its future as a novelty toy in 1949, and it was a success. It was even taken to the moon in 1968 by the Apollo 8 Astronauts.
SLINKY TM
The Slinky TM was invented by the engineer Richard James (1914-1974) in 1943. This spring-toy came about by accident as James was developing springs to support sensitive equipment on ships. James invented a manufacturing machine that could make a Slinky TM from 80 feet of steel wire in 10 seconds. His wife Betty James (1918- ) named the Slinky TM and runs the company that produces it.
SMOKE ALARM
The first residential smoke alarm (also called a smoke detector) was designed in 1967 by BRK Electronics (this company would later sell the First Alert® brand of smoke detectors). These inexpensive, battery-operated devices received the Underwriters Laboratory approval in 1969. Smoke alarms have saved countless lives over the years, alerting people to fires.
SPRAY CAN
scissorsThe forerunner of the aerosol can was invented by Erik Rotheim of Norway. On November 23, 1927, Rotheim patented a can with a valve and propellant systems - it could hold and dispense liquids.

The first aerosol can (a can than contains a propellant [a liquefied gas like flurocarbon] and has a spray nozzle) was invented in 1944 by Lyle David Goodloe and W.N. Sullivan. They were working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and were trying to find a way to spray and kill malaria carrying mosquitos during World War II for the soldiers overseas. The "clog-free" spray valve was invented by Robert H. Abplanal in 1953.

The first spray paint was invented by Edward H. Seymour in 1949. Seymour's wife Bonnie had given him the idea of an aerosol applicator for paint. The first spray paint he developed was aluminum colored. Seymour formed the company, Seymour of Sycamore, Inc. of Chicago, USA, which is still in operation.

Levi StraussSTRAUSS, LEVI
Levi Strauss (1829-1902) was an entrepreneur who invented and marketed blue jeans. Trained as a tailor in Buttenheim, Bavaria, Germany, Strauss went to San Francisco, USA from New York in 1853. Strauss sold dry goods, including tents and linens to the 49ers (the people who came to the California gold rush, which began in 1849). In 1873, Strauss and Jacob Davis, a Nevada tailor, patented the idea (devised by Davis) of using copper rivets at the stress points of sturdy work pants. Early levis, called "waist overalls," came in a brown canvas duck fabric and a heavy blue denim fabric. The duck fabric pants were not very successful, so were dropped early on. His business became extremely successful (and still is), revolutionizing the apparel industry.
SULLIVAN, THOMAS
Tea bags were invented by Thomas Sullivan around 1908. The first bags were made from silk. Sullivan was a tea and coffee merchant in New York who began packaging tea sample in tiny silk bags, but many customers brewed the tea in them (the tea-filled bag was placed directly into the boiling water where the tea brewed, instead of the traditional way of brewing loose tea in a teapot). Later tea bags were made of thin paper.
SundbachzipperSUNDBACH, GIDEON
The zipper was improved by the Swedish-American engineer, Gideon Sundbach, in 1913. Sundbach was also successful at selling his "Hookless 2." Sundbach sold these fasteners to the US Army, who put zippers on soldiers' clothing and gear during World War I.

The word zipper was coined by B.F. Goodrich in 1923, whose company sold rubber galoshes equipped with zippers. Goodrich is said to have named them zippers because he liked the zipping sound they made when opened and closed.

TAPE
tapeRichard G. Drew (1899-1980) invented masking tape and clear adhesive tape (also called cellophane tape or Scotch tape). Drew was an engineer for the 3M company (the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing).

Drew's first tape invention was a masking tape made for painters in 1923 (this tape was designed to help painters paint a straight border between two colors). This early masking tape was a wide paper tape with adhesive on only the edges of the tape - not in the middle. Drew made an improved tape called Scotch (TM) Brand Cellulose Tape in 1930. This tape was a clear, all-purpose adhesive tape that was soon adopted worldwide. The first tape dispenser with a built-in cutting edge was invented in 1932 by John A. Borden, another 3M employee.

TEABAG
Tea bags were invented by Thomas Sullivan around 1908. The first bags were made from silk. Sullivan was a tea and coffee merchant in New York who began packaging tea sample in tiny silk bags, but many customers brewed the tea in them (the tea-filled bag was placed directly into the boiling water where the tea brewed, instead of the traditional way of brewing loose tea in a teapot). Later tea bags were made of thin paper.
TELEPHONE
The telephone (meaning "far sound") is the most widely used telecommunications device. It was invented in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell (with Thomas Watson). Bell patented his invention on March 1876 (patent No. 174,465). His device transmitted speech sounds over electric wires, and his idea has remained one of the most useful inventions ever made.
TESLA, NIKOLA
Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was a Serbian-American inventor who developed the radio, fluorescent lights, the Tesla coil (an air-core transformer that generates a huge voltage from high-frequency alternating current), remote control devices, and many other inventions; Tesla held 111 patents. Tesla developed and promoted the uses of alternating current (as opposed to direct current, which was promoted fiercely by Thomas Edison and General Electric). Tesla briefly worked with Thomas Edison. The unit of magnetic induction is named for Tesla; a tesla (abbreviated T) is equal to one weber per square meter.
THURMAN, JOHN
John S. Thurman invented the gasoline powered vacuum cleaner (which he called the "pneumatic carpet renovator") in 1899. His vacuum was patented on Oct. 3, 1899 (patent #634,042). It may have been the first motorized vacuum cleaner. Thurman had a run a horse drawn, door-to-door carpet vacuuming service in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, charging $4 per visit (which was a large amount of money at the time).
TIME ZONES
The Earth is divided into 24 time zones so that everyone in the world can be on roughly similar schedules (like noon being roughly when the sun is highest in the sky). The idea to divide the Earth into time zones was proposed by the Canadian railway planner and engineer Sir Sandford Fleming in the late 1870s.

For a more information on time zones, click here.

TOILET PAPER
toilet paperJoseph Gayetty invented toilet paper in 1857. His new toilet paper was composed of flat sheets. Before Gayetty's invention, people tore pages out of mail order catalogs - before catalogs were common, leaves were used. Unfortunately, Gayetty's invention failed. Walter Alcock (of Great Britain) later developed toilet paper on a roll ( instead of in flat sheets). Again, the invention failed.

In 1867, Thomas, Edward and Clarence Scott (brothers from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) were successful at marketing toilet paper that consisted of a small roll of perforated paper . They sold their new toilet paper from a push cart - this was the beginning of the Scott Paper Company.

TRACTOR
The tractor is a high power but low-speed vehicle that is used in farming, construction, road building, and other work projects. Some tractors move on wheels, others move on a continuous track. The first gasoline-powered tractor was made in 1892 by John Froehlich, a blacksmith from Iowa. The first mass-produced tractors were sold by C.W. Hart and C.H. Parr of Charles City, Iowa.
TRAFFIC SIGNAL
MorganGarrett Augustus Morgan (March 4, 1877 - August 27, 1963), was an African-American inventor and businessman. He was the first person to patent a traffic signal. He also developed the gas mask (and many other inventions). Morgan used his gas mask (patent No. 1,090,936, 1914) to rescue miners who were trapped underground in a noxious mine. Soon after, Morgan was asked to produce gas masks for the US Army.

For more information on Morgan, click here.

TYPEWRITER
basket ballThe first typewriter was invented in 1867 by the American printer and editor Christopher Latham Sholes (Feb. 14, 1819 - Feb. 17, 1890). Sholes' prototype had the user hit a key (for each letter and number), which struck upward onto a flat plate, producing a carbon impression of the letter or number on the paper. He made the prototype using the key of an old telegraph transmitter. There was no way of spacing the letters, no carriage return, and no shift keys; these features would be added to later models.

Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soulé also worked in the Kleinstuber Machine Shop with Sholes, and they helped with his inventions. Their first patent was obtained on June 23, 1868. Sholes and Glidden sold the rights to their invention to the investor James Densmore, who eventually had the machine commercially manufactured. Their first commercial model was called the "Sholes & Glidden Type Writer," and was later called the Remington typewriter. It was produced by the gunmakers E. Remington & Sons in Ilion, NY, from 1874-1878. The first author to submit a typed book manuscript was Mark Twain. Sholes' typewriter was the beginning of a revolution in communication.

UNIVERSAL PRODUCT CODEbar code
Universal Product Codes (also called UPC's or bar codes) are small, coded labels that contain information about the item they are attached to; the information is contained in a numerical code, usually containing 12 digits. UPC's are easily scanned by laser beams. UPC's are used on many things, including most items for sale in stores, library books, inventory items, many packages and pieces of luggage being shipped, railroad cars, etc. The UPC may contain coded information about the item, its manufacturer, place of origin, destination, the owner, or other data. The first "bullseye code" was invented by Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver, from work which they began in 1948. On October 20, 1949, they patented their bullseye code (a series of concentric circles that were scannable from all directions, using regular light). Woodland and Silver patented a new UPC in October 1952; the UPC was also improved and adapted by David J. Collins in the late 1950's (to track railroad cars). UPC's were first used in grocery stores in the early 1970's.
VACUUM CLEANER
John S. Thurman invented the gasoline powered vacuum cleaner (which he called the "pneumatic carpet renovator") in 1899. His vacuum was patented on Oct. 3, 1899 (patent #634,042). It may have been the first motorized vacuum cleaner. Thurman had a run a horse drawn, door-to-door carpet vacuuming service in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, charging $4 per visit (which was a large amount of money at the time).
WALKER, MADAME C. J.
Madame C. J. WalkerMadam C. J. Walker (December 23, 1867 - May 25, 1919) was an inventor, businesswoman and self-made millionaire. Sarah Breedlove McWilliams C. J. Walker was an African-American who developed many beauty and hair care products that were extremely popular. Madam Walker started her cosmetics business in 1905. Her first product was a scalp treatment that used petrolatum and sulphur. She added Madam to her name and began selling her new "Walker System" door-to-door. Walker soon added new cosmetic products to her line. The products were very successful and she soon had many saleswomen, called "Walker Agents," who sold her products door to door and to beauty salons.

For more information on Madame C. J. Walker, click here.

WAKEFIELD, RUTH
Ruth Graves Wakefield (1905-1977) invented chocolate chips (and chocolate chip cookies) in 1930. Wakefield ran the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. Her new cookie invention was called the "Toll House Cookie." Her original cookies used broken-up bars of semi-sweet chocolate. Her cookbook, "Toll House Tried and True Recipes," was published in 1940.
WATERMAN, LEWIS E.
Lewis E. Waterman was an American inventor and insurance salesman who developed a relatively leak-proof fountain pen; he patented his new invention in 1884 and revolutionized writing. Before his fountain pen, pen tips had to be tipped into ink after every few words. Waterman put an ink reservoir in the pen above the pen's metal nib (point). This reservoir would hold enough ink for a few pages of writing. There were many problems in developing the fountain pen, especially the difficulty of controlling the flow of the ink. Putting a sealed reservoir above the nib wouldn't let the ink flow, but if it wasn't sealed, all the ink would flow at once. Waterman used capillary action to replace the ink in the rubber sac with air so that the ink flowed smoothly but did not flow all at once. Also, the metals in the ink dissolved the steel pen nib, so Waterman used an iridium-plated gold nib. Waterman was also the first person to place a clip on the cap of the pen.
WHITE OUT
Liquid Paper is a quick-drying, paper-colored (white) liquid that is painted onto paper to correct printed material. Liquid Paper was invented in 1951 by Bessie Nesmith (1922-1980). It was based on white tempera paint (Nesmith was also an artist). Nesmith was a secretary in Texas, USA, before the time of word processors. She began selling her vastly popular invention, and soon ran the very successful Liquid Paper company. Her son, Michael Nesmith, was a member of the rock group called the Monkees.
WHITNEY, ELI
Eli Whitney (1765-1825) was an American inventor and engineer. Whitney invented the cotton gin and the idea of interchangeable parts. He patented the cotton gin , which revolutionized the cotton industry on March 14, 1794. The cotton gin is a machine that cleans cotton, removing its many seeds. Previously, this tedious job had been done by hand, using two combs. The cotton gin made much of the southern United States very rich, but cotton plantation owners rarely paid Whitney for the use of his invention, and Whitney went out of business. He never patented his later inventions (like his milling machine). Whitney also helped modernize the musket industry (and mass production in general) by introducing the idea of interchangeable parts in a manufacturing system.
WINDSHIELD WIPER
The windshield wiper was invented by Mary Anderson in 1903 to help streetcars operate safely in the rain. In 1905 she patented her invention, which allowed the car operator to control the external, swinging arm wipers from within the car. Windshield wipers became standard equipment on cars a decade later. Anderson was from Alabama, USA.
airplaneWRIGHT BROTHERS
The first working airplane was invented by, designed, made, and flown by the Wright brothers, Wilbur Wright (1867-1912) and Orville Wright (1871-1948). Their "Wright Flyer" was a fabric-covered biplane with a wooden frame. The power to the two propellers was supplied by a 12-horsepower water-cooled engine. On December 17, 1903, the "Flyer" flew for 12 seconds and for a distance of 120 feet (37 m). The flight took place at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, USA.
WRIGHT, JOHN LLOYD
Lincoln Logs are a popular children's toy building set that consists of interlocking notched logs. Children can easily make log cabins and other structures from the tiny wooden logs.

Lincoln Logs were invented in 1916 by John Lloyd Wright (1892-1972), an architect and one of the five children of the world-famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. John patented his toy in 1920, and sold the logs through his toy company, the Red Square Toy Company. Playskool bought the rights to Lincoln Logs in 1943.

WU, CHIEN-SHIUG
Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu (Shanghai, China, May 31, 1912 - New York, USA, February 16, 1997) was a nuclear physicist who studied beta-decay (a weak interaction in which one of the neutrons in the nucleus of an atom decays into a proton and an electron; the proton enters the nucleus, forming an isotope, and the electron is emitted as a beta-particle). In 1956, Madam Wu did experiments showing that parity is not conserved in weak interactions (demonstrating parity violation in the nuclear beta decay in cobalt 60). Her experiments supported T. D. Lee and C. N. Yang's revolutionary idea that parity was not conserved in weak interactions (parity conservation had been a basic assumption in physics). Madam Wu worked on the Manhattan Project (a secret US project during World War 2 to develop an atomic bomb in order to defeat Hitler), developing a process for separating the uranium isotopes U235 and U238 by gaseous diffusion. She also helped develop more sensitive Geiger counters (devices that detect radiation). Madam Wu also studied the molecular changes in hemoglobin associated with sickle-cell anemia.
XEROGRAPHY
Xerography (which means "dry writing" in Greek) is a proces of making copies that was invented in 1938 by Chester Floyd Carlson (1906-1968). Xerography makes copies without using ink (hence its name). In this process, static electricity charges a lighted plate; a plastic powder (called toner) is applied to the areas of the page to remain white. Carlson marketed his revolutionary device to about 20 companies before he could interest any. The Haloid Company (later called the Xerox Corporation) marketed it, and photocopying eventually became common and inexpensive.
airplaneYALE JR., LINUS
Linus Yale Jr. (1821-1868) was an American mechanical engineer and manufacturer who developed the cylinder pin-tumbler lock (and other key and combination locks). Yale's father, Linus Yale, had invented an earlier pin-tumbler lock in 1848; the son's lock used a smaller, flat key with serrated edges (like the ones we still use today). Yale patented his cylinder pin-tumbler lock in 1861. This very secure lock is still widely in use today in car doors and the outside doors of buildings. The cylinder pin-tumbler lock consists of (usually 5) pairs of bottom pins and top drivers, held in position by springs. When the right key is put into the lock, the bottom pins are pushed to the right position, allowing the key to turn and the lock to unlock. Yale introduced a combination lock a year later. He had opened his first lock shop in the 1840's in Shelburne, Massachusetts, specializing in bank locks. In 1868, Yale and Henry Robinson Towne founded the Yale Lock Manufacturing Company in Stamford, Connecticut, to produce cylinder locks. He dies later that year. There is no connection between Linus Yale and Yale University.
YALOW, ROSALYN S.
Dr. Solomon A. Berson (1919-1972) and Dr. Rosalyn Sussman Yalow (1921- ) co-invented the radioimmunoassay (RIA) in 1959. The radioimmunoassay is a method of chemically analyzing human blood and tissue and is used diagnose illness (like diabetes). RIA revolutionized diagnoses because it uses only a tiny sample of blood or tissue and is a relatively inexpensive and simple test to perform. Blood banks use RIA to screen blood; RIA is used to detect drug use, high blood pressure, infertility, and many other conditions and diseases. For inventing RIA, Yalow won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1977 (Yalow accepted for Berson, who died in 1972). Yalow and Berson did not patent the RIA; instead they allowed the common use of RIA to benefit human health.
ZamboniZAMBONI, FRANK J.
Frank J. Zamboni (1901-1988) was an inventor and mechanic who invented the Zamboni Ice Resurfacing Machine in 1949. His machine is used in ice rinks to resurface marred ice. In 1939, Zamboni and his brother Lawrence built a 20,000-square-foot enclosed ice skating rink in Paramount, California, USA. Resurfacing the ice was a major problem, and took many men and assorted equipment. In 1942, Zamboni transformed a tractor to scrape and smooth the ice in a single pass. After years, he perfected his it, releasing his "Model A Zamboni Ice Resurfacer" in 1949, (patent #2,642,679). The Olympic medal-winner Sonja Henie was one of his first customers.
JudsonzipperZIPPER
Whitcomb L. Judson was an American engineer from Chicago, Illinois, who invented the zipper. Judson patented his "clasp-locker'' on Aug. 29, 1893; later in 1893, he exhibited this new invention at the Chicago World's Fair. He and Lewis Walker founded the Universal Fastener Company to manufacture these fasteners. They never succeeded in selling Judson's new device. Judson died in 1909, before his device became commonly used and well known.

SundbachThe zipper was improved in 1913 by the Swedish-American engineer, Gideon Sundbach (a former employee of Judson). Sundbach was successful at selling his invention, which he called the "Hookless 2." He sold these fasteners to the US Army, who put zippers on soldiers' clothing and gear during World War I.

The word zipper was coined by B.F. Goodrich in 1923, whose company sold rubber galoshes equipped with zippers. Goodrich is said to have named them zippers because he liked the zipping sound they made when opened and closed.


"We are called the nation of inventors. And we are. We could still claim that title and wear its loftiest honors if we had stopped with the first thing we ever invented, which was human liberty." -- Mark Twain

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