In the year 1886, Herman Hollerith had the idea of using punched cards to keep and transport information, a technology used up to the late 1970s. This device was originally constructed to allow the 1890 census to be tabulated. In 1896, the Tabulating Machine Company was founded by Hollerith. Twenty-eight years later in 1924, after several take-overs, the company became known as International Business Machines (IBM).
Incan soldiers invented the process of freeze-drying food. The process was primitive but effective – potatoes would be left outside to freeze overnight, then thawed and stomped on to remove excess water.
Invented in the 1940s, an atomic clock is constant to within a few seconds every 100,000 years.
Inventor Gail Borden, Jr. invented condensed milk in the 1850s and later the popular Lazy Susan table aid, but he struck out with one other invention: the poorly-received "meat biscuit."
Inventor Hugh Moore's paper cup factory was located next door to the Dixie Doll Company in the same downtown loft building. The word Dixie printed on the company's door reminded Moore of the story he had heard as a boy about "dixies," the ten-dollar bank notes printed with the French word dix in big letters across the face of the bill by a New Orleans bank renowned for its strong currency in the early 1800s. The "dixies," Moore decided, had the qualities he wanted people to associate with his paper cups, and with permission from his neighbor, he used the name for his cups: "Dixie Cups."
Inventor Thomas Edison averaged six new patents a month during one four-year period.
It has been determined that less than one patented invention in a hundred makes any money for the inventor.
It is recorded that the Babylonians were making soap around 2800 B.C., and that it was known to the Phoenicians around 600 B.C. These early references to soap and soap making were for the use of soap in the cleaning of textile fibers such as wool and cotton in preparation for weaving into cloth.
It was Swiss chemist Jacques Edwin Brandenberger who invented cellophane, back in 1908.
It was while he was examining urine, seeking the philosopher's stone (the magic elixir needed to change base metals into gold), that German chemist Hennig Brand discovered phosphorus.
Donald F. Duncan, the man who made the yo-yo an American tradition, is also credited with popularizing the parking meter and introducing Good Humor "ice cream on a stick."
Dr. John Gorrie of Appalachicola, Florida, invented mechanical refrigeration in 1851. He patented his device on May 6, 1851. There is a statue which honors this "Father of Modern Day Air Conditioning" in the Statuary Hall of the capitol building in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Jonas Salk developed the vaccine for polio in 1952.
Dubble Bubble bubble gum was invented by an accountant named Walter Diemer in 1928.
Early hand-held lights used carbo-zinc batteries that did not last very long. To keep the light burning required that the user turn it on for a short time and then turn it off to allow the battery to recover. That's how they originally became known as a "flashlight."
Early mattresses were filled with straw and held up with a rope stretched across the bed frame. If the rope was tight, sleep was comfortable. Hence the phrase, "sleep tight."
Eastman Kodak's Brownie camera cost $1.00 when it was introduced in 1900.
Electric Christmas tree lights were first used in 1895. The idea for using electric Christmas lights came from an American, Ralph E. Morris. The new lights proved safer than the traditional candles.
Electrical hearing aids were invented in 1901 by Miller R. Hutchinson.
Eli Whitney made no money from the cotton gin because he did not have a valid patent on it.
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