NYC has always attracted the worlds best and brightest, so it comes as no surprise that some of the worlds most indispensable items were invented here. We guarentee that a lot of these will come as a surprise:
1. Toilet paper:
In 1857 at 41 Ann St, Mr. Joseph C. Gayetty sold packs of “medicated paper for the water closet” out of his wholesale shop. At the time, this primitive TP was made from pure Manila hemp, treated with aloe and watermarked with his name… at least he didn’t print his face on it I guess.
2. Teddy Bears:
Inspired by a story about President Theodore Roosevelt refusing to shoot an injured black bear while on a hunt, Morris and Rose Michtom, candy-store owners from Brooklyn, made a plush bear called the “teddy’s bear.” The toy was so popular, they pivoted from making and selling candy to making plush toys.
3. The Tom Collins
The joke went something like this, someone would tell a friend, ““I was at [a bar], where Tom Collins said [an insult] about you!”. The victim would take off in search of the fictional “Tom Collins” (We’re talking about the 1870’s, humor was a lot more primitive at the time). Inspired by the joke, an NYC mixologist named Jerry Thomas created the recipe in 1876.
4. Coal-fired pizza
In 1905, Gennaro Lombardi moved away form the traditional wood fired pizzas to make the first coal-fired pie… although it is technically illegal there are still a few places in the city where you can find coal fired pizzas.
In Jackson Heights, 1931, an unemployed architect named Alfred Mosher Butts, created the first ever iteration this infamous board game. The street sign on Butts’s corner in Queens reads “35t1H4 a1V4e1n1u1e1” after the games letter-scoring system.
6. Spaghetti primavera:
According to The New York Times, in 1977, Spaghetti primavera was “the most talked-about dish in Manhattan.” Believed by some to originate from Italy, this fake Italian dish was created by the french head chef at “Le Cirque”, Jean Vergnes.
7. The remote control
Even though, at the time, people didn’t believe such technology could exist, in 1898, Nikola Tesla devised the very first a radio-controlled boat.
8. Sweet’n Low
At the time artifical sweetner was only available in liquid or pill form. Benjamin Eisenstadt and his son created powdered saccharin and named it after an Alfred Lord Tennyson poem.
9. Eggs Benedict
ever wake up in the morning with such a bad hangover you created an entirely new dish? Thats what happened when Stockbroker and bon vivant Lemuel Benedict woke up in the Waldorf Astoria 1894. He ordered a poached egg, crispy bacon, toast and hollandaise sauce. The maître d’hôtel liked it so much he added it to the hotel’s menu.
10. The Bloody Mary:
Tomato-juice-and-vodka was already a thing in Paris, but Fernand “Pete” Petiot added Worcestershire sauce, lemon and a dash of cayenne and black pepper when he brought it to St. Regis hotel’s King Cole Bar.
11. Credit Cards
In 1946, John Biggins from the Flatbush National Bank created the charge-it program, where customers were issued bank credit cards for use at local Brooklyn merchants. The Vendors would then exchange the slips for real bills in the bank.
12. Baked Alaska:
In 1876 lower-Manhattan pastry chefs from Delmonico’s created this delicious dessert and named it after the country’s newest territory.
13. Air conditioning
This invaluable NYC-summer-must was actually created to stop the paper at a printing plant in Bushwick from warping… keeping the employees cool was just a welcome side effect.
14. Mr. Potato Head:
NYC toy designer, George Lerner, first created the plastic facial features to stick on real vegetables. Later, in 1952, Hasbro would buy Lerner’s idea and make the first TV toy advertisement ever! They sold a million units that year.
15. Hot dogs
a baker from Coney Island, Charles Feltman first had the idea to serve hot sausages in a bun for a dime each.
The worlds first money-dispenser was created in 1939 by Luther George Simjian. He convinced the City Bank of New York (Citibank today) to test out the machine for six months.
17. Children’s Museums
In 1899, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, in Crown Heights first opened it’s doors and became the nation’s first museum dedicated to the education of children. It was also the first to encourage a “hands-on” policy for its exhibits.
Feature image source: [Pinterest]