Pennsylvania April 10, 2015
15 Incredibly Important Things You Probably Didn’t Know Were Invented In Pennsylvania
Everyone in the U.S. knows about the famous Philadelphian Benjamin Franklin, who gave us a ton of inventions, but what other inventions hail from Pennsylvania? Read on to discover some creations made Benjamin Franklin and more…
1. The first ferris wheel was invented by Pittsburgh bridger-builder, George Ferris, in 1892 for the Chicago World's Fair.
2. The first smiley face emoticon was created at Carnegie Mellon University in the 1980s by computer scientist Scott Fahlman.
3. The world's first movie theater was opened on Smithfield St. in Pittsburgh in 1905.
A ceremony and plaque on Smithfield Street celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first Nickelodeon, which opened in June 1905. The plaque, replaced with one honoring the Nickelodeon's founder, has a few inaccuracies: the two moving pictures it mentions were produced at least two years after the Nickelodeon opened and the title of one film is given as "The Battled Burglar" -- the correct title is "The Baffled Burglar."
4. George Blaisdell certainly did not invent the first lighter, but he did found the Zippo Manufacturing Company in 1932. The Zippo lighter has become the premiere lighter in America.
5. The Slinky was invented by an engineer in 1943 and was first sold as a toy in Philadelphia in 1945.
6. Bubble gum was first created in 1928 by Pennsylvania accountant Walter Diemer after many failed attempts by others.
7. The pencil with a built-in eraser was created in 1858 by a man named Hymen Hipman.
8. Crayola Crayons were invented by a team who first created dustless chalkboard chalk. They sold the wax-based drawing tool to Crayola.
9. Benjamin Franklin invented the modern odometer to help him determine distances while he was setting up the postal service.
10. Benjamin Franklin created bifocal glasses in 1784 so that he would no longer have to switch between distance and up-close glasses.
11. Perhaps Benjamin Franklin's most famous creation is the lightning rod, which he created in 1749. History remembers him for the infamous kite experiment which led to this invention.
12. A Philadelphia man, Theophilus van Kennel, won a humanitarian award for inventing the revolving door.
13. In 1859, the Heinz company in Pittsburgh created the world's first packaged condiments, and to this day is the world's leading distributor of ketchup as well as the country's most global food producer.
14. Book matches came from Pennsylvania in the year 1889.
15. The world's first soda pop was sold in Philadelphia in 1807 and was named Nephite Julep. Ironically enough, flavor was added to carbonated water because people wanted to drink it for health benefits, but didn't like the taste.
Maybe you can be the next ingenious Pennsylvania inventor, or maybe you can just share what you already know– tell us in the comments if you know of anything else that hails from our home state.