It's amazing how much talent there is in this state and it's always uplifting to talk to other crafters which is why I joined Handmade in PA.net. The idea of networking with fellow crafters in the area is a great experience. Share ideas, help each other out and have people to chat with who understand your obsession with a full closet of fabric that you never use or a box of notions that you just HAD to buy because they were on sale and you just 'know' you'll use them...eventually.
So where to start? Well, just think of all of the amazing inventions that were PA born!
Walter E. Diemer was an accountant for the Fleer Chewing Gum Company who enjoyed experimenting in his spare time. In 1928, while attempting to find a new rubber product, he accidentally invented Bubble Gum. He was only 23 years old! Bubble gum is pink because that is the food coloring that just happened to be there when he was working. I have to admit - how did he realize you could chew it? And what did it originally taste like?
In 1784, Ben Franklin invented bifocals. Ben had poor vision and changing glasses constantly to see far or to read was annoying. So, he cut two pair of glasses in half and put half of each in one frame. This was a great time saver for him. After all, one of his famous sayings is “But dost thou love Life, then do not squander Time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.” I honestly recall learning about this event in school which being a school in Philadelphia we spend a lot of time on Ben and his inventions. I also spent many hours at the Franklin Institute. Oddly enough I also spent many hours at Franklin Mills Mall but never bought glasses, isn't that ironic.
This amazing toy was invented in 1943 by Richard James. He got the idea for it while working on a spring that would keep a ship’s instruments steady. At first, it was made near Philadelphia but soon moved to Hollidaysburg, PA where it continues to be manufactured today. I think everyone's had a slinky at one time or another. I had a few, the first being the original metal one. After straightening that one my parents got me a plastic version...it just wasn't the same.
Pencil with Eraser
Hyman L. Lipman of Philadelphia gets credit for inventing the pencil with an attached eraser in 1858. Amazing that such an obvious thing was neglected for so many years after pencils were first made. I tried to get an exact date but it looks like the first pencils were made in the mid 1500's so think of those poor children doing math for 300 years without an eraser!
Edward Binney and Harold Smith shared a long history of color related improvements to products before they improved industrial marking crayons for use by school children. The first box of eight Crayola Crayons came on the market in 1903. I personally LOVE the smell of a new box of crayons and visit The Crayola Factory monthly with my son. Upon our visit we always get a new box of crayons...just the small original box of 8 colors because there's nothing like a new box of crayons.
Townsend Speakman was working as a druggist in Philadelphia in 1807. While many people liked drinking Priestly’s carbonated water because of the healthy benefits it claimed, most people did not like the taste. So, Speakman added a few ingredients like fruit flavors to make the drink tasty. The first soda was the Nephite Julep. Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 by the way...
The Big Mac became part of MacDonald’s menu in 1968. It was the creation of Jim Delligatti who operated a dozen stores in Pittsburgh in the late 1960s. Let all arteries rejoice over this one.
The Ferris Wheel
The Ferris wheel was one of the most incredible feats of engineering of the nineteenth century. George Ferris built it for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 to be held in Chicago. This structure was meant to rival the Eiffel Tower, which was built four years earlier. The original structure weighed 2,079,884 pounds. It eventually was dismantled and moved to St Louis for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. Unfortunately, the original Ferris wheel was destroyed in 1906, after no one took ownership of it.
How can you not be proud to know that bubble gum and ferris wheels come from Pennsylvania?!!? And as for Crayons...I've been to Crayola Factory many MANY times with my little guy and that was one of my favorite parts of living in the Lehigh Valley when I first relocated to this area. All of these people and all of these everyday items that just 'happened' to come about right here in PA.
Sometimes inspiration just happens; you're sitting at your machine, fabric in hand and a few hours later you're holding a purse (which is what happened with me this evening). Sometimes you sit and plan and draw and plot and come up with something incredible and amazing. Either way you never should doubt yourself or your ideas - just go with it. Just think if someone had laughed at Hyman Lipman!? Math class would have been a horrid experience without the aid of my pink pearl.
During the PA Proud promotion I'll be one of the Handmade in PA shops featuring FREE SHIPPING for any customers in North America! To those overseas interested. . .I have to see how much shipping will be. Just specify in the 'notes to the seller' - HANDMADE IN PA FREE SHIPPING so I can send you a revised invoice. Promotion ends MARCH 2nd so don't delay!
Please check out these other Handmade in PA blogs. On each of these blogs, you can find out other great reasons to be PA Proud. You can also find out how to get a great deal in each of their shops - now through Monday, March 2nd!
Tara from typOH - Enjoy FREE Shipping!
Kristen from WatersGirls - Enjoy 30% off your purchase!
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