10 Random Things Invented in New York
NYC has always been a source of inspiration. From new business ventures for entrepreneurs to new songs for musicians, the city has enabled countless individuals to come up with incredible ideas. The entire state, in fact, has been the birthplace of some of the most common inventions that we come across in everyday life. There are too many to list, but for starters, here are ten random things invented in New York.
A formal dinner jacket is nothing new, as a proper suit became a popular fashion choice among men of the British aristocracy during the mid-1800s. The term “tuxedo,” however, began in Tuxedo Park located in upstate New York, which was a popular country getaway for Manhattan’s elite. It’s said that Griswold Lorillard showed up to a ball in 1886 wearing “a tailless dress coat,” which ended up being a hot topic in the society pages. Since then, the tux has been a stylish alternative to formal jackets with tails.
Luther George Simjian invented the first money-dispensing ATM in 1939 and asked Citibank to test his new gadget. The bank declined because they believed the ATM would only be used by gamblers and prostitutes.
The turn of the century was met with one of the toy industry’s most famous inventions – the teddy bear, named after President Theodore Roosevelt. While on a hunt, the former president refused to shoot an injured black bear, thus inspiring Brooklyn candy store owners Morris and Rose Michtom to create the first plush bear in his honor.
After the United States acquired the Alaskan territory in 1867, the pastry chef at Delmonico’s – the country’s first fine dining restaurant – created a hot sponge cake topped with ice cream and a crispy, baked meringue. Today, the decadent dessert is served in restaurants all over New York City.
Read on for more things invented in New York…
Thanks to John Biggins’ “charge-it” program in 1946, which involved issuing Flatbush National Bank credit cards for customers to use locally in Brooklyn, we all get to worry about interest charges and credit scores.
What would the NYC brunch scene be without eggs Benedict? Coincidentally, the iconic dish began similarly to how many of us eat it today. It was 1894 when stockbroker Lemuel Benedict woke up with a massive hangover, made his way to the Waldorf Astoria, and ordered a poached egg with bacon, toast, and hollandaise sauce. A fan of the combination, maître d’hotel Oscar Tschirky immediately added it to the Waldorf’s menu.
Obviously, humans throughout history have used some “material” for bathroom purposes – even if it was just leaves or newspapers. But the first official “toilet paper” was invented in 1857, when Joseph C. Gayetty began selling Manila hemp paper treated with aloe from his store at 41 Ann Street.
Leave it to an unemployed architect and anagram fan to have enough vision to create one of the world’s most classic board games. While living in Queens, Alfred Mosher Butts invented Scrabble in 1938. Even the street sign on his corner is an ode to the Scrabble scoring system, reading “35t1H4a1V4e1n1u1e1.”
If there’s one thing New Yorkers are grateful for during the warmer months, it’s air conditioning. The first AC was invented by Willis Carrier in 1902 to keep humidity at bay, as the excess moisture was warping the paper at his Bushwick printing plant. Fortunately, it also rescued laborers from the city’s summer heat.
The Club Sandwich
As any NYC nightlife lover will attest, nothing tastes better after a night out than a club sandwich in a diner at 2 a.m. Several stories are circulating about the official invention of the famed triple decker, but the one we’ll go with is that it originated at the Saratoga Club House in 1894. Thank you, Saratoga Springs, for bringing us the towering deliciousness of bread, turkey, mayo, and bacon.
Plus, did you know that New York City is overflowing with wildlife?