Cleveland December 02, 2018
9 Out Of The Box Inventions That Hail From Cleveland
From brands to groundbreaking devices, all sorts of incredible ideas hail from the minds of Clevelanders. Locals like Garrett Morgan dared to dream big, and he ended up creating devices like a gas mask, hair care products, and even a traffic control device with three warning lights. Artists, chefs, writers, and tinkers have all called Cleveland home over the years, and these locals have brought to life some wild ideas.
1. The first x-ray scan of an entire human body.
Just after the Civil War ended, a couple in Strongsville welcomed a baby boy into the world. They moved with the child, whom they had named Dayton Clarence Miller, to Berea, likely not far from Baldwin University (now Baldwin Wallace University). It was there that he began his studies, though he completed his doctorate in astronomy at Princeton University in 1890. After graduation, Miller returned home to Cleveland, immediately taking on a role as a professor of mathematics and physics at the Case School of Applied Science. During his tenure, the x-ray machine was invented. Miller was said to be fascinated by this new world of study, and he invented his own machine. With it he produced the first x-ray of a full human body, using himself as the test subject. He eventually died at the age of 75 in 1941, but his legacy hasn't been forgotten.
2. The padded bicycle seat.
Pictured here are proud members of the Lakewood Police's Bicycle Brigade, but they wouldn't be quite so comfortable if not for the genius of Arthur Lovett Garford. Garford was born in Elyria in 1858, and it was there that he went on to establish the Garford Manufacturing Company in 1892. Here he created the first-ever padded bicycle seat, the Garford Saddle, and it was a hit.
3. The world's first rock and roll concert.
It's common knowledge that Alan Freed coined "rock and roll" to describe what would become Cleveland's favorite musical genre. Many do not realize that Freed also helped organize a live music and dance event featuring these rock and roll musicians, and it would become recognized as the first concert of its kind in the world. However, things didn't quite go as planned. A printing error and issues with counterfeit tickets resulted in 20,000 attendees showing up to a venue that could hold half that many. After just one song, the fire department shut down the show.
4. The original Strawberry Shortcake.
Cute as a button and familiar to all, one could argue that Strawberry Shortcake is one of the most famous Clevelanders. She was dreamed up and designed by Susan Trentel and Muriel Fahrion. While these sisters and Cleveland natives originally debuted her through American Greetings as a greeting card, the character has since resulted in toys, clothing, books, and even television specials.
5. The Care Bears.
While we're on the topic of cute and cuddly, we might as well visit another Cleveland character group that made it big. Also designed for American Greetings, these friendly bears were born in 1981 under the supervision of Those Characters From Cleveland, the company's licensing division. Strawberry Shortcake's Muriel Fahrion helped create the first concept characters, but Elena Kucharik would ultimately go on to serve as the bears' primary artist. As with Strawberry Shortcake, these adorable Cleveland characters have taken over the entertainment world.
6. Indoor shopping centers.
The Arcade is nicknamed Cleveland’s Crystal Palace, and it really isn't hard to see why, This gorgeous destination opened in 1890, and it brought the concept of indoor shopping centers and modern malls to the United States. It was modeled after the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, and it truly is a mesmerizing landmark to this day.
7. Chef Boyardee products.
Italian immigrant Ettore Boiardi fit right in Cleveland. In 1924, he opened Il Giardino d'Italia, and locals were obsessed with his meals. They loved the spaghetti sauce and frequently asked for samples to take home. He initially filled cleaned milk bottles for his patrons, but he moved on to canning the products with the help of a bit of innovation. Though he opened his first large-scale factory in Pennsylvania, Boiardi stayed in Greater Cleveland until he passed. Today, this famous chef is buried at All Souls Cemetery in Chardon.
8. Calvin and Hobbes.
These familiar characters bring a sort of magic to every storyline, and their adventures spanned a full decade from 1985 to 1995. Though it originally debuted in 35 different newspapers, Clevelanders, in particular, may have felt a certain familiarity in the comic's landscape. Much of it is inspired by Chagrin Falls, cartoonist Bill Watterson's hometown.
9. Free home mail delivery.
It's said that Joseph William Briggs, a Cleveland area postal employee, was mortified to see women lining up in the cold to see if their beloveds had sent them letters while they were away fighting the Civil War. His heart ached for these concerned women, and he began delivering mail to their homes at no extra cost. As time passed, this became a standard practice across the nation.
It is always incredible and inspiring to see what members of your own community have contributed to our nation’s culture and lifestyle. Did any of these Cleveland creations surprise you?
If you were fascinated by these spectacular creations, you’ll delight in knowing that
Clevelanders were the first to accomplish these incredible feats.