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Welcome to America Comes Alive!, a site I created to share little-known stories of America's past. These stories are about Americans - people just like you - who have made a difference and changed the course of history. Look around the site and find what inspires you. Kate Kelly

Inventions

Drive-In Movie Theaters

The concept for the first drive-in movie business originated with one man in the late 1920s. Richard M. Hollingshead, Jr. came up with the concept... continue »

First Rearview Mirror Marketed as “Cop-spotter”

The first widely distributed rearview mirror for automobiles was sold as the “Cop-spotter” by a fellow... continue »

The Wheelchair: Who Thought Of It?

Wheelchairs today offer a very high level of independence and mobility to people who cannot walk because of injury or disability. When and how did... continue »

Baseball Catcher’s Mask: How It Was Invented

In today’s game of baseball, the catcher’s mask is a fundamental piece of equipment. The player positioned behind home... continue »

Bessie Blount Griffin, Physical Therapist and Inventor

Bessie Blount (1914-2009) was a physical therapist who worked with injured soldiers during World War II. She recognized their need and desire to do more on... continue »

Borden Dairy: The Beginning

The Borden Dairy company is an extraordinarily old American company. It was started by Gail Borden, Jr. (1801-1874) in the decade before the Civil War.... continue »

Elmer’s Glue: The Surprising Story

Elmer’s Glue was first introduced by the Borden Company in 1947. A dairy company going into the adhesive business may at first seem surprising, but... continue »

Who Invented the Shopping Cart?

The shopping cart was invented in the mid-1930s by Sylvan N. Goldman (1898-1984). Goldman ran a grocery store chain called Humpty Dumpty, and he observed... continue »

Ice Cream Cones: The True Story

The ice cream cone is said to have originated at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri, in... continue »

Bubble Gum: How Dubble Bubble was Invented

Bubble gum.  Few adults chew it, but all of us surely chewed the delightful pink stuff while growing up:  the sweet smell when unwrapping the... continue »

Abraham Lincoln’s Patent: The Only President-Inventor

To read this patent application today is to be transported to a time before the name, Abraham Lincoln, carried such import---before he was the President... continue »

The Invention of the Polygraph

The lie detector—or polygraph machine--was first created by John Augustus Larson (1892-1965), a part-time employee of the Berkley Police Department who was earning his Ph.D.... continue »