With Thanksgiving coming up, it’s a great time to reflect on the things in life that we appreciate – what we’re thankful for. As Jersey residents, we’ve got plenty to be grateful for (beaches, mountains…) but not everyone is so lucky. Even though everyone can’t live here, there are still some pretty big reasons why the entire country should be thankful for our state.
1. We invented movies.
In 1892, William Dickson and Thomas Edison worked together to build the first video recording device. Able to record movies, they needed a place to create them. In 1893, the world's first film production studio, the Black Maria, was completed on the grounds of Edison's laboratories in West Orange. If not for the dynamic duo, it could have been years before the big screen existed.
2. The world would be a much darker place.
Another one of Edison's inventions? The electric light bulb. We may still be lighting lanterns if it weren't for Edison. Shown above is the world's largest light bulb, the Edison Memorial Tower.
3. From Band-Aids to baby products and Tylenol to Tuberculosis medications, we take care of our country.
Johnson & Johnson was founded in New Brunswick 129 years ago, and is still headquartered there today. Without the company's medical advancements, we might still be wrapping our wounds with cloth.
4. We supply the country with their fruits and vegetables.
We really are the Garden State! New Jersey is a national top-ten producer of cranberries, bell peppers, spinach, peaches, blueberries, sweet corn, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes AND more.
5. Atlantic City.
It's the Las Vegas of the East Coast...but better. We have the beach. Some may disagree, but I'm sticking to this. We have more than enough casinos, boardwalk light shows, fine dining, incredible entertainment, arcades, amusement rides and, of course, our sandy shores. Visitors flock here from all over the country, and the world.
6. New Jersey was instrumental in aviation.
In 1830, Jersey City's Charles Durant became the first American balloonist to fly. In 1921, the world's largest hangar and America's first airship, the U.S.S. Shenandoah, were built in Lakehurst. In 1922, the world's largest airplane, the Barling Bomber, was constructed at Teterboro Airport by the Wittemann brothers. The list of New Jersey's aviation firsts goes on and on!
7. Bubble wrap.
It's been over 50 years since Elmwood Park-based Sealed Air Corporation invented bubble wrap. That's more than 5 decades of protecting valuables and endless popping fun.
8. Any state that has a summer season can thank us for air conditioning.
In 1915, Willis Haviland Carrier founded the Carrier Engineering Company in Newark and in 1921 patented the centrifugal chiller, the first system to efficiently cool large spaces. The White House was one of the first buildings to use air conditioning.
9. We may still be part of the United Kingdom.
George Washington spent more time in New Jersey than anywhere else during the war. New Jersey's strategic location made it a center of Revolutionary War activity.
10. People may still be getting sick from drinking water in the United States.
Charles Frederick Wallace, an engineer in Belleville, came up with a simple device that pumped chlorine gas into local water supplies. The small concentration of chlorine helped to rid the water of bacteria and other pathogens. Affordable and effective, this invention may have saved millions from preventable illnesses.
11. Eating in front of the television wouldn't be the same.
The TV dinner was invented in 1944 by William L. Maxson of West Orange. The first frozen dinners were originally served on airplanes.
12. College football started here.
The sport is HUGE in some states. Intercollegiate football was first played in New Jersey, between Rutgers and Princeton in 1869. Rutgers won.
Which of these are you most thankful for? What other reasons should the rest of the country be thankful for New Jersey? Share in the comments.