Have you ever seen a clever invention and asked yourself,”Why didn’t I think of that?” It happens to me all the time! New inventions seem to be popping up everywhere, and many inventions actually happened right here in Alabama. Here are 12 inventions you may be surprised to learn that came from Alabama.
1. Windshield Wipers
While on a trip to New York, Mary Anderson saw a need for windshield wipers and invented (1903) them when she returned home to Alabama. She never made any money from her invention because people believed the windshield wipers would be a distraction. Interestingly enough, they're now standard on all vehicles.
2. Internet Vending Machine
James A. Satchell Jr., of Tuskegee, Ala., is the co-inventor of the Internet Vending Machine. This was invented in 2010 and makes it easy for anyone to order any type of item from a vending machine through the internet.
3. Portable Electric Hearing Aid
In 1895, Miller Reese Hutchison invented the first portable electric hearing aid.
4. Van de Graaff Generator
The Van de Graaff Generator, better known as the device that makes your hair stand on end, was invented by physicist Robert Jemison Van de Graaff in 1929.
5. Air Bag
George F. Kirchoff's air bag invention has saved many lives since 1987 - the year it was introduced.
6. Super Soaker
Thanks to Lonnie Johnson's invention, the Super Soaker, kids no longer have to soak their friends with the water hose. Johnson accidentally invented the Super Soaker in 1982 while working on a different project. The Super Soaker was released in 1989 and still remains one of today's top-selling toys.
The Hydrocopter is the machine that allows divers to search old shipwrecks for treasures. This salvage machine was invented by James W. Justus in 1954.
Waldo Semon is the chemist responsible for creating vinyl - the material used to make albums.
9. Double-Walled Drinking Mug
In recent years, these mugs have become very popular. Surprisingly, this type of mug was invented over 30 years ago (1983) by Loyal E. Campbell.
10. Glaucoma and Rhematoid Arthritis Treatments
Percy Julian created synthesized medications that are used to treat glaucoma and rheumatoid arthritis. He also invented a special foam that extinguishes gasoline and oil fires.
11. Saturn V
Saturn V was the rocket that sent the first Americans to the moon on July 20, 1969. It was designed and built in Huntsville at Marshall Space Flight Center.
12. Online Encyclopedia
Co-founders Jimmy Wales and Larry Sang started Wikipedia in 2001. Wikimedia is the world's largest online encyclopedia.
This is only a short list of the great inventions to come out of Alabama. Can you think of an invention to add to the list?