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.
Paper is writing material made from wood pulp or other fibrous material.
Almost 5,000 years ago, in ancient Egypt, the papyrus plant was processed and used as paper. Papyrus paper was made from thin sheets of papyrus pith that were soaked in water, pressed together with the grains at right angles, and then dried - the sticky sap of the plant made the thin sheets stick together, forming a sturdy writing surface. Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus is its genus and species) is a grass-like aquatic plant native to the Nile valley of Egypt. Our word paper comes from “papyrus.”
Paper is made by grinding plant material into a pulp, forming it into thin sheets, and drying it in a form. This process was invented in AD 105 by Ts’ai Lun, a Chinese official and member of the Chinese Imperial Court, about 2000 years ago; he originally used the waste from silk production. Early Chinese paper was made from the bark of the mulberry tree and other plant fibers.
The paper clip was invented in 1899 or 1890 by a Norwegian patent clerk called Johann Vaaler. His original paper clip was a thin spring-steel wire with triangular or square ends and two “tongues.” Vaaler patented his invention in Germany and later in the USA (1901).
The modern-shaped paper clip was patented in April 27, 1899 by William Middlebrook of Waterbury, Connecticut, USA.
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.
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.
Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was a French chemist and inventor. Pasteur studied the process of fermentation, and postulated that fermentation was produced by microscopic organisms (other than yeast), which Pasteur called germs. He hypothesized that these germs might be responsible for some diseases. Pasteur disproved the notion of “spontaneous generation ” which stated that organisms could spring from nothing; Pasteur showed that organisms came form other, pre-existing organisms. Applying his theories to foods and drinks, Pasteur invented a heating process (now called pasteurization) which sterilizes food, killing micro-organisms that contaminate it.
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.
The “lead” pencil (which contains no lead) was invented in 1564 when a huge graphite (black carbon) mine was discovered in England. The pure graphite was sawn into sheets and then cut into square rods. The graphite rods were inserted into hand-carved wooden holders, forming pencils. They were called lead pencils by mistake — at the time, graphite was called black lead or “plumbago,” from the Greek word for lead (it looked and acted like lead, and it was not known at the time that graphite consisted of carbon and not lead).
In 1795, Nicolas-Jacques Conté (a French officer in Napoleon’s army) patented the modern method of kiln-firing powdered graphite with clay to make pencils of any desired hardness.
The first rubber band was made in 1845 by Stephen Perry of the rubber manufacturing company Messers Perry and Co., in London, England. This rubber band was made of vulcanized rubber. Perry invented the rubber band to hold papers or envelopes together.
The modern piano (the pianoforte) was developed from the harpsichord around 1720, by Bartolomeo Cristofori of Padua, Italy. His new instrument had a delicate pianissimo (very soft sound), a strong fortissimo (a very loud, forceful sound), and every level in between.
The first upright piano was made around 1780 by Johann Schmidt of Salzburg, Austria. Thomas Loud of London developed an upright piano whose strings ran diagonally (in 1802), saving even more space.
In 1859, the French physicist Raymond Gaston Planté (April 22, 1834-1889) invented a battery made from two lead plates joined by a wire and immersed in a sulfuric acid electrolyte; this was the first storage battery. Storage batteries are batteries that can be recharged.
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.
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.
The popsicle was invented by 11-year-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.
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.
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!
The first printing press with movable type was invented in 1450 by Johannes Gutenberg. This invention revolutionized printing, making it simpler and more affordable. Gutenberg produced dies (molds) for easily producing individual pieces of metal type that could be made, assembled, and later reused. Gutenberg’s new press could print a page every three minutes. This made printed material available to the masses for the first time in history. Religious materials were the majority of the early printed materials. The use of printing presses began the standardization of spelling.
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.