Earle Dickson, husband of Josephine Dickson, was employed in a company that made gauze and tape called “Johnson & Johnson”. Ironically, Josephine was extremely accident-prone, she seemed to be cutting herself every day. Finally, Earle came up with the idea of having a piece of tape with a small slice of gauze in the middle to have on hand for when Josephine “struck” again. He later sold these strips and four years later, “Johnson & Johnson” installed machines for mass-producing this new medical product, which they called the “Band-Aid.”
Hair Dryer (1920)
Prior to 1920, woman dried their hair by inserting a hose in the exhaust of a vacuum cleaner and blowing themselves dry. But in 1920, the hair dryer went public. Although this devise was extremely large and overheated easily, it was better than a vacuum! The hand held hair dryer was not invented until 1951.
Automobile with Combustion Engine (~1920)
The automobile was probably the most significant invention in the 20’s. Although an automobile, which was powered by steam, was invented in 1866, this car was moved by a fuel powered combustion engine. Invented by Henry Ford, these cars were more affordable to the public and were made by the hundreds to sell. The ‘Model-T’ was the fist car to roll off the assembly line, and into the hearts of the Americans. The people could even pick any color they desired, “as long is it’s black”. By 1927, the ‘Model-T’ was found on the streets across America. The coming of the automobile created more jobs, better transportation, and more significantly, cultural changes. Suddenly people were dating more often and going on vacations. Henry Ford later founded the famous Ford Company.
In many of the Americans’ hearts, Edwin Perkins of Omaha, Nebraska created the most important invention of history: Kool-Aid. Perkins was a chemist who owned a company called “Perkins Product Company” which sold perfume and calling cards. His inventions of Kool-Aid was originally called “Fruit Smack”, and then later “Kool-Ade’ until the well known Kool-Aid was released. The original flavors were: Cherry, Lemon-Lime, Grape, Orange, Root Beer, Strawberry, and Raspberry.
Liquid-Fueled Rocket (1926)
Although during his time the US did not recognize his achievement, Robert Goddard’s invention of the liquid-fueled rocket and methods of propulsion are still used by the North American Space Association today. His method of oxygen and liquid fuel propulsion only lifted the original rocket 184 ft. Now rockets have the ability to go into space thanks to the efforts of Robert Goddard.
Polish-born American Leo Gerstenzang took his wife’s innovation and put it on the market. His wife used to cotton swabs each end of a stick to clean their baby’s ears. Then called ‘Baby Gays”, the wood was replaced by white cardboard, and Gertenzang started the “Infant Novelty Company” to sell these Q-Tips which are still used in the same fashion today.
Lie Detector (1921)
John A. Larson was a medical student at the University of California when he invented the Polygraph, or lie detector. This devise measured heartbeats and breathing to learn if a person is lying or not. It later included a skin monitoring system to tell if a person is sweating. If a person was sweating and their breathing and pulse became higher, an alarm would sound concluding that the person was lying.
Bread Slicer (1927)
Otto Frederick Rowedder of Iowa worked on his idea of a bread slicer since 1912. Finally he completed a machine that could successfully cut and wrap a loaf of bread. This machine was later improved by baker Gustav Papendick.
Engineer Benjamin Holt built a crawling tractor, which he called “caterpillar” in 1885. Later, scraping blades were attached and in 1923, LaPlant-Choate Manufacturing Company produced the first bulldozer in 1923.
Traffic Light (1920)
Police officer William Potts from Detroit Michigan was the inventor of the traffic light. He used red, amber and green lights and thirty-seven dollars worth of wire to form this light, which was put on the corner of Woodward and Michigan Avenues in Detroit. Around the same time, African- American Garrett Morgan invented the automated traffic light which worked basically the same way the railroad lights work today. This was the concept on which four way traffic lights are built.
Frozen Food (1929)
Opening the door, Frank feels the cold breeze. He grabs a box and warms it up. Then, Frank grabs another one for his companion. Together, they enjoy the contents of the boxes. This moment would not be possible if it were not for the awesome invention of Clarence Birdseye. Clarence Birdseye's keen observation of Indians would revolutionize what people would consume.
In 1884, Birdseye dropped out of Amherst College to become a naturalist for the United States government. He was immediately assigned to the Arctic, where he witnessed the ways of the regional Indians. One of his important observations was the Indians' use of ice, wind, and temperature to preserve food, especially fish. Furthermore, he noted that there was minimal difference in taste and texture between fresh and frozen fish after being cooked. Birdseye explained that the fish was frozen before ice cyrstals could form within the fish's anataomy. With this "new" insight, Birdseye returned to New York, and started his own packing company called Birdseye Seafoods, Inc in 1924. Then, Birdseye made a breakthrough in 1930. Although he had to wait three years, Birdseye got his patent for the Birdseye system; a system which packed dressed fish, meat, or vegetables in waxed-cardboard cartons and freezed them at extremely high pressures.