Arkansas May 30, 2015
Here Are 7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know Came From Arkansas
Arkansas can boast about a lot, and that includes the objects we use that came from the minds of Natural State natives! Check out these inventions that Arkansans created and get some inspiration for your own patented product.
7. Cat Claws, Inc.: This Morrilton, Arkansas based business, founded in 1980, creates and ships cat toys and products across the country.
Cat Claws claims the secret to their success is the top-quality certified organic catnip used in all of their products – cats love it, and it keeps their owners coming back for more.
6. Fried Pickles: The first fried dill pickles ever sold anywhere were at the Duchess Drive-In in Atkins, summer of 1963, at fifteen cents for an order of 15 hamburger slices. They were created by Bernell "Fatman" Austin, owner of the drive-in, who worked to improve them.
By late summer, he had perfected the pickle to what it is today: a large pickle sliced lengthwise and breaded in the family's secret recipe, then deep-fried until it's golden. Atkins offers these Southern delicacies during the annual Picklefest every May.
5. Freeman Owens: This Pine Bluff native changed the movie making business forever when he perfected the process of putting sound on film.
Owens later advanced cinematography technology when he designed and developed cameras and lenses used by the Eastman-Kodak Company.
4. Modernized Archery: Called the father of modern archery, Arkansan Ben Pearson invented the machine technology that enabled him to mass-produce bows and arrows and sell them at a price the average sports enthusiast could afford.
His company, founded in 1927, is the oldest bow company in America and still sells archery products. The company was the largest archery products manufacturer in the United States for about 30 years, and Pearson promoted the sport through films, tournaments, and demonstrations. He was inducted into the Archery Hall of Fame & Museum in Union City, Pennsylvania, in 1972.
3. The Wonder Horse: A popular toy horse for children, the Wonder Horse was invented by William Baltz of Pocahontas, Arkansas. Baltz made the first version in 1939 by suspending the horse from a wood frame using springs.
His grandson enjoyed it so much that Baltz decided to mass-produce them, naming them after the Wonder State, Arkansas’ moniker at that time. The company Wonder Products started mass-producing Wonder Horses in 1949. In 1952, Wonder Products started making vinyl horses on black wooden frames and converted to metal frames in 1959.
2. Klipsch Speakers: Paul Klipsch perfected the speakers that continue to bear his name today. He was the first to realize that horn-type speakers have a richer sound than cone-type speakers. His Klipschorn speakers helped start the hi-fi era of sound in the 1940s.
Klipsch initially sold his speakers from a tin shed in Hope, Arkansas in 1946 and opened his first speaker factory in Hope in 1948. His speakers were primarily for commercial or professional buyers, but the Klipsch company seized the home theater market in the 1990s. Klipsch created 23 patents before his death in 2002 at age 98.
1. Bowie Knife: The type of knife that carries the name of James Bowie was actually first crafted by Arkansas blacksmith James Black, according to the Historic Arkansas Museum.
Black’s knife, also known as the “Arkansas Toothpick,” was created for self-defense in the 1830s by settlers on the Arkansas frontier. Bowie came to possess one, and his fighting prowess linked him to the weapon. The knife kept the name after Bowie died at the Alamo in 1836. Black’s knife design was later copied by knifemakers in Sheffield, England.
You’re welcome for the Wonder Horse, world…I definitely had one as a kid and one of my first childhood memories was bobbling along on that toy! Thankfully the inventors from the Natural State provide some pretty practical ideas for everyday use.