Elmer Berger was the man behind the first widely-marketed rearview mirror for automobiles. His product was released in 1921.
The football huddle was invented in the 1990s by a quarterback at a school for the deaf. He wanted to prevent others to see his signing to his teammates.
The X-ray shoe-fitting machine may have been invented by either Dr. Jacob Lowe or Matthew Adrian. The machines became very popular in shoe stores for a time.
Wheelchairs did not come into common use until the last 150 years, but various forms of them existed before the 1860s. Here's how they were invented:
The baseball catcher's mask was invented by a Harvard student named Fred Thayer in 1878.
Bessie Blount invented a device that helped wounded World War II veterans feed themselves without needing help from others.
Scrabble was the brainchild of an out-of-work architect named Alfred M. Butts.
Gail Borden, Jr., came up with the concept of a milk product that did not require refrigeration. He made it a reality by condensing the milk, and thereby launched a business that we still hear about almost 175 years later.
Elsie the Cow was the highly successful marketing mascot for Borden milk. It was created ad man Stuart Peabody and illustrator Walter Early.
The story of Elmer's Glue is about the creation of a new product but also about the strength of a top-flight marketing campaign.
The shopping cart was invented in the 1930s by Sylvan, Goldman, an Oklahoma grocer who wanted a way to help people buy more in his stores.
The true inventor of the ice cream cone was Italo Marchiony, not Ernest Hamwi at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis in 1904 as is often reported.
Bubble gum was first created by Walter Diemer, an accountant working at the Fleer Chewing Gum Company. The product was sold as Dubble Bubble.
The Woodcraft Indians were a precursor to scouting groups, and Ernest Thompson Seton formed the group in 1902 to encourage young people to enjoy nature.
Amanda Theodosia Jones (1835-1914) invented safer ways to preserve food through new canning methods and also contributed to better systems for furnaces that burned fuel oil.
The home security camera was first patented by Marie Van Brittan Brown, a nurse, was concerned about her own home security. It was the forerunner of all home security systems today.
Morrie Turner created the first integrated syndicated comic strip, Wee Pals.
Abraham Lincoln applied for and received a patent for a device to keep riverboat and steamships from getting stuck in shallow water or on sandbars. His patent was granted in 1849 while he was in Congress.
The polygraph--or lie detector machine--was invented by John Larson, an employee of the Berkeley Police Department. However, the device wasn't patented for about 10 years. Holder of the patent was Leonarde Keeler, also from Berkeley.
The Pledge of Allegiance was written by the men behind a popular 19th century magazine, Youth's Companion.
The Pledge of Allegiance was the brainchild of the men behind a very popular 19th century family magazine, Youth's Companion.
The wire coat hanger was invented in 1903
The searchlight was invented in 1915
The first American to create a sunscreen product was Florida pharmacist and former military airman Benjamin Green who developed a product to protect World War II soldiers stationed in the South Pacific. He later sold to Coppretone
Anna Connelly received a patent for a fire escape bridge in 1887 (she did not invent the fire escape). Her contribution saved many lives.
Ann Moore received her first patent on the baby carrier known as the Snugli in 1969
Tabitha Babbitt invented the circular saw by building a larger version of an addition she had made to her spinning wheel. The Shaker people believed in working "smarter not harder" so patenting the invention was not important to her.
A time-saving device for curling hair (or straightening very curly hair) was invented in 1928 by Marjorie Stewart Joyner.
The idea for mass-producing valentines arose with Esther Howland (1828-1904), a young entrepreneur who learned card-making from her father.
Blue jeans were invented by Jacob Davis
Glen Holland was the first person to ever franchise an amusement park, and he did so with Santa's Village:
Crayola crayons are remarkable for their market staying power. Here's the story of the two men who created the company that makes them
The first Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center was set up by construction workers, grateful for a paycheck in 1931.
Aaron Montgomery began the world’s first mail-order business in 1872.
Beulah Henry Louise had so many patents she was known as Lady Edison--among them, "Dolly Dips" soap-filled sponges and an umbrella cover that could be changed to match one's outfit...
Once the can was invented, Americans Ezra Warren, J. Osterhoudt and William Lyman each made improvements on the can opener...
Wonder Bread was first baked in Indianapolis in 1921
The bread-slicing machine was created by Otto Rohwedder (1880-1960)
The first American to patent a seat belt was Edward J. Claghorn of New York, N.Y. who was issued a patent in 1885 for a "safety-belt for tourists, painters, or firemen who are being raised or lowered." Claghorn's belt was not tested in cars until the 1920s.
In 1936 Pappy Hoel was the fellow who came up with the concept of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
Carl Fisher, the fellow who built the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was behind the creation of the Lincoln Highway, the first coast-to-coast planned road
A pill that could easily be dissolved in the stomach (known as a "friable" pill) was invented by William Upjohn (1858-1932)
The Yale lock (tumbler lock) was first created for banks in 1847 by Linus Yale, Sr. (1797-1858). It was adapted for use on other doors by Linus Yale, Jr. (1821-1868)
The first commercially produced chewing gum was created by John Curtis (1827-1897)
The first longlasting lipstick was invented by Hazel Bishop in the late 1940s.
The invention that contributed the most to advances in weather prediction and the creation of the national weather service was the telegraph in 1835.
The bullet-resistant textile known as Kevlar was invented by Stephanie L. Kwolek for Dupont.
In 1871 Margaret Knight devised a machine for creating the square-bottomed paper bag that is still in use today
The disposable diaper was invented by Marion Donovan who also invented a pin-less diaper cover and several other practical, convenient inventions.
The Fold-a-way bed was created by Sarah E. Goode who was the first African-American woman to ever receive a patent (1885)
The inflatable life preserver (the Mae West) was invented shortly before World War I
The keyboards of today are the same design as the originals in the 19th century. Here's how the design came about.