No rants and raves this week, just some fun and entertaining tid bits from “back in the day”. This week “Art’s World” takes another trip down memory lane and this time it revolves around some everyday products and services we all use, but never realized how long they have been around. It is very easy to assume some have been around for a long time because we remember them as kids and now our kids and their kids use them. Here are just a few that have been around since the 1920’s. I think you will be surprised at some, I know I was and I have been around almost as long (well, not quite!).
1920 – Eskimo Pie – Who doesn’t like this long time ice cream favorite. Invented by Christine Nelson she teamed up with Russell Stover, of chocolate candy fame, to make this into a best seller that initially sold for a nickel. Today it is still a very popular ice cream treat under the changed name of Edy’s Pie thanks to today’s cancel culture.
1920 – Band-Aids – Earle Dickson made it to tend to the injuries of his wife, who often cut herself doing household chores. He worked for Johnson & Johnson, who manufactured gauze and tape. He used a piece of tape with a small-sized gauze in the middle and put it on his wife’s injured hand. He told the idea to his boss, James Wood Johnson, who liked it and the Band-Aid went into production.
1921 – Drive-in Restaurant – Kirby’s Pig Stand was the first drive-in restaurant to open in the United States. It was opened by Jessie G. Kirby and Reuben Jackson in 1921, in Dallas, Texas. Then in the 1980s, it changed ownership and name to Woodfire Kirby’s. In 2006 the company closed for good.
1921 – Wise Potato Chips – It was founded in Berwick, Pennsylvania in 1921 by Earl Wise. He owned Wise Delicatessen and began making potato chips as a way to make use of excess potatoes. Initially he began cooking them in his mother’s kitchen and then selling them to customers in brown paper bags. They became so popular he decided to create the brand that is still going to day
1922: The Blender – Steven J. Poplawski created and patented the drink mixer in 1922 and sold it to drug stores and soda fountains to make malted milkshakes. In 1946, Poplawski’s Stevens Electric Company was bought by Oster Manufacturing Products, who still make blenders today.
1922 – The Convertible – Ben P. Ellerbeck is the man credited with creating the first practical and retractable manual hardtop system in 1922. Because of the extra work and cost most auto makers stayed away from it. In 1934 Parisian Georges Paulin created the first power-operated retractable hardtop.
1923 – The Instant Camera – The first instant camera was actually created by Samuel Shlafrock in 1923 but was not very successful. The instant camera has consistently evolved over the years into today’s digital camera. The first commercially successful instant camera did not hit the market until 1948 from Polaroid.
1924: Kleenex – First sold in 1924 as a cold cream and makeup remover, the paper company Kimberly Clark a couple of years later began marketing the product as a disposable handkerchief. Today, the paper is so popular people simply refer to all facial tissues as Kleenex.
1925 – Masking Tape – It was the idea of 3M employee, Richard Drew, when he observed the difficulty workers had while painting cars. Drew worked on the concept of having a tape with a gentler adhesive so it wouldn’t damage the area where it is applied. Drew received the patent for masking tape in the year 1930.
1926 – Power Steering – Francis W. Davis invented the first practical power steering system. However, due to cost factors, even though it proved to work, major automakers would not use it. It would be the late 40’s and early 50’s before it was widely accepted.
1927: Kool-Aid – Kool-Aid was dreamed up by an enterprising young Nebraskan named Edwin Perkins, who managed to dehydrate a concentrated fruit soft drink back into its sugary powder form. He called his new concoction Kool-Aid, and the rest is history.
1927 – The Juke Box – The Automatic Music Instrument Company built the first automated instrument. The idea of putting a number of records in this machine and then being able to select a song to play caught on. It gained popularity in the 1930s, and then again after WW II.
1928: Chef Boyardee – It was created by a respected, Cleveland Italian chef, Ettore Boiardi. In 1928 he began selling pre packaged versions of his dinners. He changed the name on the package to Boyardee so consumers could pronounce his name. Today, Boiardi’s image is still featured on his products.
1928 – Ice Cube Trays – It was invented by Lloyd Groff Copeman in 1928. Soon ice cube trays became a household item replacing crushed ice or ice blocks. With the use of ice cubes in drinks it created the popular phrase, “On the rocks.”
1929 – Frozen Food – Clarence Birdseye invented frozen food. He started a company called Birdseye Seafoods, Inc., in 1924. He introduced a system where dressed meat and vegetables were preserved in waxed-cardboard cartons, after being exposed to high pressure. In 1930, he got the patent for the Birdseye system of freezing food.
There were a lot more things we use every day that were invented in the 1920’s, so check them all out at: https://sciencestruck.com/inventions-of-1920s You will be surprised to see just how many things have been around for 100 years. We’ll do one for the 1930’s in the near future and that will definitely yield some new surprises.
Art Koch, National Features & DVD Editor, NightMoves Magazine and AAN