Plato once said that necessity is the mother of invention. I have to say that no truer statement has ever been made and although South Carolina can’t lay claim to light bulbs or water wheels, I can say that we invented some pretty amazing, life-altering inventions.
1. The Submarine
I have to concede to the fact that the inventor himself was not from South Carolina, but South Carolina has been credited with the submarine. In 1863, Hunley financed and launched his own submarine that he named…you guessed it…the H. L. Hunley. It took a couple of tries, in fact, Hunley died in one of the attempts, but it didn't stop his crew. The persevered and did get it right.
2. First patented antibody labeling agent.
Joseph Burckhalter was born in Columbia, SC, in 1912. In 1942, he received his doctorate in medicinal chemistry. With this invention, he made it possible for us to rapidly diagnose infectious diseases.
I’m sure you are saying, “What?” MASER stands for microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Invented by Charles Towne, this invention had a huge impact for space research and radio transmissions. MASER was used to amplify radio signals and as an ultrasensitive detector for space research.
4. Egg Fertilization
Ernest Just was born in Charleston, SC, in 1883. He was a biologist, academic, and science writer. His most noted research was in the fundamental role of the cell surface in developing organisms such as egg fertilization.
5. The Cotton Chopper
Who says that something can't be improved upon? George Washington Murray was many things in his life, but he was also a farmer and saw the need for something better than what was available so he set out to improve the cotton chopper and received patent on it in 1894.
6. Imitation Mineral Water
In 1810, Simons and Rundell of Charleston, SC, received patent to mass manufacture imitation mineral water that was used in soda fountains!
7. Blenheim Ginger Ale
Its history is rooted as far back as 1781 and includes a Whig and a shoe. Later, in 1903, Dr. May and A. J. Matheson started Blenheim Ginger Ale, a mixture of mineral water and Jamaican Ginger. As they say the rest is history. Today, you can enjoy his concoction in mild, hot, and diet. As a side note, I can't do the hot, but I do enjoy an ice cold mild Blenheim.
Although, Dave Cockrum was born in Oregon, he spent most of his life right here in Belton, SC. He was an amazingly talented comic book artist. Without him, we would not know the X-Men as we know them now along with many other characters.
9. Snap, Crackle, and Pop!
Without Vernon Grant, who lived most of his life in Rock Hill, SC, we would not have those beloved characters that everyone remembers on Rice Krispies. I, personally, don't believe that Rice Krispies would be anywhere near as popular as they are without them.
Yes, I know that this is a sore spot for a lot of people in other states, but South Carolina can trace BBQ back 5 centuries! I think we can safely say...it is ours!
11. Sweet Tea
There is a receipt from 1890 that proves that Summerville, SC, is the birthplace and, therefore, the inventor of that beloved drink we love so much!
12. Benne Wafers
Sesame seeds were brought over from east Africa and what does the south do with something like that? Why, we bake cookies! Sesame seeds are used in a lot of dishes, but Benne Wafers by far are the most notable. Light, crisp, and sweet with plenty of sesame seeds. They truly are a delight.
13. Free Fall Amusement Ride
A ride you will never forget to be sure. Gerald Barber of Greenville, SC, is an amazing inventor and this is just one of many.
14. Wind Turbines
Like I said, Gerald Barber is an amazing inventor. Not only did he invent that Free Fall that people rave about all over the country, he also invented wind turbines. A truly innovative genius.
15. Tea, Rice, Indigo, and Peaches
I put all of these into one category. South Carolina can't hold claim to "inventing' these, but we did grow them first and we did supply to the rest of the country so I thought they were worthy of mentioning.
See? I told you that South Carolina was home to some truly gifted innovators! And, I’m sure it won’t stop here. Everyday someone is looking at something and thinking to themselves that it can be better or they are doing a chore that they believe they can make easier by inventing a simple machine. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings for “we are the music-makers and we are the dreamers of dreams”.