If you think of Connecticut, what may come to mind first are its colonial history and picturesque Ivy League campuses. But did you know that the state is also responsible for a number of significant inventions? Here are 20 things that were created or first mass-produced in Connecticut:
1. The safety pin
2. The Frisbee 3. The lollipop 4. The military submarine 5. The first successful helicopter 6. The first color television 7. The submarine torpedo 8. The atomic submarine 9. The first revolvers 10. The first use of interchangeable parts in manufacturing 11. The first mass-produced automobile 12. The first U.S. patent for an airplane 13. The first American-made torpedo 14. The first American-made machine gun 15. The first pistols 16. The first sports car 17. The first electric incubator 18. The first electrocardiogram machine 19. The first automobile air conditioning 20. The first American-made diesel engine
The first submarine, the USS Nautilus, was built in Groton, Connecticut in 1954. This submarine was the first to be powered by a nuclear reactor, and it could stay submerged for extended periods of time. The USS Nautilus revolutionized submarine warfare, and it was a major force during the Cold War.
In 1876, the first telephone exchange in the United States was established in New Haven, Connecticut. The exchange was operated by the Connecticut Telephone Company, and it served just over fifty customers. The first exchange was manually operated, and each customer was given a unique three-digit number. When a customer wanted to make a call, they would tell the operator their number and the number they wanted to call. The operator would then connect the two callers by physically connecting their wires.
The first automatic telephone exchange was established in La Porte, Indiana in 1892. This new type of exchange used electromechanical switches to connect calls, and it could serve a much larger number of customers. The automatic exchanges were much more efficient than the manual ones, and they quickly became the standard. Today, there are over 8,000 telephone exchanges in the United States.
The telephone exchange is a vital part of the country's telecommunications infrastructure, and it has come a long way since its humble beginnings in Connecticut.
Two years after the plastic Frisbee was invented in 1948, Walter “Fred” Morrison and Warren Franscioni created the first plastic flying disc in their Pasadena, California garage. Morrison and Franscioni subsequently founded Wham-O Toy Company to mass-produce their invention. The Frisbeehitting the market in 1957 with the name “Pluto Platter”.
While Morrison and Franscioni get credit for the plastic flying disc, the Frisbee as we know it today was actually invented in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In the early 1950s, students at Yale University began throwing pie tins from the Frisbie Pie Company across the campus. The students would yell “Frisbie!” to alert people that a tin was coming their way.
The Frisbie Pie Company was soon out of business, but the students continued to throw the pie tins. In 1957, school administrators banned the tins after someone was hit in the head with one.
A student named Joel Silver, who would go on to produce such films as “Die Hard” and “The Matrix”, came up with the idea of instead throwing a plastic disc. Silver approached Wham-O with his idea, and the company began selling the “Flyin-Saucer” in 1958.
So, while the Frisbee may have been invented in California, it was perfected in Connecticut. And it has been a favorite American pastime ever since.
The first color television was invented by Peter Carl Goldmark in Stamford, Connecticut in 1956. This was a major breakthrough in technology and changed the way we watch television forever. Goldmark's invention was the first to use a video camera and was also the first to use a color film.
The first American-built focusing telescope was built in Danbury, Connecticut in 1733. The telescope was built by optician Isaac Darby and is now on display at the Danbury Museum. The telescope is a reflector telescope with a metal mirror and a wooden body. The telescope was used to observe the stars and planets.
Luther George Simjian invented the check-writing machine in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1958. This machine was designed to make it easier for people to write checks. The machine had a keyboard that was used to input the amount of the check and the name of the payee. The machine would then print the check and the payee would sign it.
Simjian's machine was not the first check-writing machine, but it was the first to be commercially successful. Other check-writing machines had been invented in the early 1900s, but they were not widely adopted. Simjian's machine was different in that it was compact, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive.
Simjian's machine was used by many businesses, including banks and stores. It was also used by the US military, which adopted it for use in Vietnam. The machine was eventually replaced by electronic check-writing systems, but it was an important invention in its time.