Some People Don’t Know These 9 Things Came From Kansas

What do prostitutes, carbonated frozen beverages, and the world’s most famous rodent all have in common? (No, this isn’t a dirty joke…) These people and items are all related thanks to Kansas inventors and entrepreneurs. Listed below are nine Kansas inventions you might not have known are from the Sunflower State.

Did any of these Kansas inventions surprise you? If so, please let us know in the comments below.


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kansas inventions

June 13, 2022

What are three popular inventions from Kansas?

Many things were invented in Kansas. While some of these things you might have already known about, many others might surprise you. Listed below are three things invented in Kansas that you should definitely be familiar with.

1. First Patented Helicopter

The first patented helicopter was co-invented by William J. Purvis and Charles A. Wilson. It was built in Goodland, Kansas in 1909. After having money problems and selling off their assets, the U.S. granted the co-inventors a patent in 1912. Unfortunately, by the time this happened, they had gone their separate ways.


If you’re a fan of the popular ICEE frozen drink, you have Omar Knedlik to thank. In the 1950s, Mr. Knedlik was a Coffeyville Dairy Queen owner. His store didn’t have a soft drink fountain. Because of this, he decided to freeze bottles of soda to sell to his customers. This was such a hit that, within five years, he had built a machine that was able to make frozen, carbonated drinks. This was the very first ICEE machine.

3. Trapper Keeper

In 1978, the iconic Trapper Keeper was introduced in Wichita, Kansas. It was created by E. Bryant Crutchfield and became famous nationwide in 1981. During the 1980s, it was “THE” school item to have. Most every high school student walked the halls carrying this unique binder. If you weren’t one of the lucky ones who owned a Trapper Keeper, no worries. You can still purchase one today.

What popular meal was invented in Kansas that’s for kids and makes them undeniably happy?

Kansas is well known for serving all kinds of foods, including the popular Happy Meal. The Happy Meal is the kid’s meal from McDonald’s that we’re all familiar with. Its comes in a cardboard box with a toy. Bob Bernstein, an advertising expert from Kansas City, came up with the idea of the Happy Meal. In 1977, it took off at McDonald’s and has been selling strong ever since.