Whether You Have ADD or Are an Introvert, the Isolator May be For You

Ritalin has only been available since the 1950's, but people have had difficulty with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) forever. Inventor Hugo Gernsback offered his solution for highly-distractable people when he invented The Isolator in 1925. Resembling the first appearance of Iron Man, The Isolator was a combination of a gas mask and a diving helmet.... Continue Reading →

Wiping Away Doubt About How to Hang Toilet Paper

It has been listed as one of the top causes of marital strife. It has divided families, torn friendships asunder, and generated more letters to advice columnist Ann Landers than any other topic. What could be such a controversial subject? The Presidential election? The latest Supreme Court opinion? The favored team for the World Series?... Continue Reading →

The Greatest Things Since Sliced Bread

The next time you use the phrase "the best thing since sliced bread," you might want to consider how recent of an invention that is. The first commercially-available device that made it possible to sell pre-sliced loaves in mass quantities was developed by Otto Frederick Rohwedder. His prototype was built in 1912, but it wasn't... Continue Reading →

Easy Phone Number to Remember

1877 brought a new President to the White House and a new presidential perk: the Executive Mansion's first telephone. President Rutherford B. Hayes had the phone installed in the White House telegraph room. The first White House phone number was "1." Alexander Graham Bell had just invented the telephone a year earlier, so it should not... Continue Reading →

Mark Twain: Patently Multi-Talented

Mark Twain was much more than an accomplished author. He was also an inventor who was awarded patents for three different innovative devices. Ironically, because of his inventions, this well-known author's most profitable book was blank. A lifelong lover of scrapbooks, Twain thought there had to be a better way to save pictures and clippings. When... Continue Reading →

The Entertainer Who Put a Lot of Heart Into His Work

  Paul Winchell (1922-2005) may be best known as the voice of Tigger in Winnie the Pooh, Gargamel in The Smurfs, the characters in Green Eggs and Ham and many other animated characters, and for earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in television. He holds another distinction, however, that frequently... Continue Reading →

Improving the Human Condition — One Slice of Cheese at a Time

In what was surely one of the most  important leaps forward in human technological advancement, Thor Bjørklund of Norway invented the cheese slicer in 1925. Bjørklund was apprenticed as a cabinet maker, and he was inspired to created the cheese slicer (known locally as the ostehøvel) by his work with a carpenter's plane. Thor Bjørklund... Continue Reading →

Because When You’ve Got to Go, Every Second Counts

Katherine Marie LeBeau received Patent #3,517,423 on June 30, 1970 for a "Fluid-Operated Zipper." These are for the moments when the need to go is so great that you can't spare the time or energy to manually operate your zipper. This amazing device makes use of "available fluids" and automatically releases the zipper, bringing relief... Continue Reading →

Maybe It’s the Inventor Who Needed a Swat on the Bottom

Thomas V. Zelenka was awarded Patent 3,552,388 in 1968 for a motor-driven device that attaches to a baby crib and gently pats the sleeping baby on the bottom with a padded mitten. One can't help but wonder if the invention would have gained more popularity with a revved-up motor and marketed as a hand-free spanker.... Continue Reading →

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