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- So many visitors were taking his cigars, so Thomas Edison devised a plan to discourage the practice. He had several boxes of cigars custom-made with cabbage leaves. But when the offensive smelling stogies were delivered to his office, his secretary sent them on to his home where his wife went ahead and packed the items in his luggage, and the offensive items accompanied Mr. Edison on his business trip. This just goes to show you that even a genius can't outsmart his wife.
- Henry Waterman, of New York, invented the elevator in 1850. He intended it to transport barrels of flour.
- John Greenwood, also of New York invented the dental drill in 1790.
- The corkscrew was invented by M.L. Bryn, also of New York, in 1860.
- Electrical hearing aids were invented in 1901 by Miller R. Hutchinson, who was (you guessed it) from New York.
- Dr. Jonas Salk developed the vaccine for polio in 1952, in New York (aaah!).
- Four wheel roller skates were invented by James L. Plimpton in 1863. Can you guess where?
- The first words that Thomas A. Edison spoke into the phonograph were, "Mary had a little lamb."
- In the early 1800s, a French silk weaver called Joseph-Marie Jacquard invented a way of automatically controlling the warp and weft threads on a silk loom by recording patterns of holes in a string of cards.
- In 1843, a mathematician, Ada Byron, published the first computer programs. She based them on Jacquard's punch-card idea. Her programs were for the first general-purpose mechanical digital computer, that was just invented by Charles Babbage.
- As an advertising gimmick, Carl Meyer, nephew of lunch meat mogul Oscar Meyer, invented the company's "Wienermobile". On July 18, 1936, the first Oscar Mayer "Wienermobile" rolled out of General Body Company's factory in Chicago. The Wienermobile still tours the U.S. today.
- Gutenburg invented the printing press in the 1450's, and the first book to ever be printed was the Bible. It was, however, in Latin rather than English.
- Jeanne Pierre Francois Blanchard built the first parachute and tested it using a dog. He put the dog in a basket equipped with his invention and then dropped it from a hot air balloon. It was a giant step forward for aviation history, but a giant step backwards in establishing the dog as man's best friend.
- The toothbrush was invented in 1498.
- The waffle iron was invented August 24, 1869.
- The alarm clock was not invented by the Marquis de Sade, as some suspect, but rather by a man named Levi Hutchins of Concord, New Hampshire, in 1787. Perversity, though, characterized his invention from the beginning. The alarm on his clock could ring only at 4 am. Rumor has it that Hutchins was murdered by his wife at 4:05 am on a very dark and deeply cold New England morning.
- Craven Walker invented the lava lamp, and its contents are colored wax and water.
- In 1916, Jones Wister of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania invented a rifle for shooting around corners. It had a curved barrel and periscopic sights.
- The same man who led the attack on the Alamo, Mexican Military General, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, is also credited with the invention of chewing gum.
- The parachute was invented by Leonardo da Vinci in 1515.
- The guillotine was originally called a louisette. Named for Antoine Louis, the French surgeon who invented it. It became known as the guillotine for Joseph Ignace Guillotin, the French physician who advocated it as a more merciful means of execution than the noose or ax.
- Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.
- Lazy Susans are named after Thomas Edison's daughter. He invented it to impress a gathering of industrialists and inventors.
- Cyano-acrylate glues (super glue) were invented by accident. The researcher was trying to make optical materials, and would test their properties by putting them between two prisms and shining light through them. When he tried the cyano-acrylate, he couldn't get the prisms apart.
- A device invented as a primitive steam engine by the Greek engineer Hero, about the time of the birth of Christ, is used today as a rotating lawn sprinkler.
- A machine has been invented that can read printed English books aloud to the blind, and it can do so at speed half again as fast as normal speech.
- Games Slayter, a Purdue graduate, invented fiberglass.
- Teflon was discovered in 1938.
- Alfred Nobel used a cellulose adhesive (nitrocellulose) as the chemical binder for nitroglycerin, which he used in his invention of dynamite.
- At the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, Richard Blechyden, and Englishman, had a tea concession. On a very hot day, none of the fairgoers were interested in hot tea. Blechyden served the tea cold—and invented iced tea.