slides: 8 Great Inventions That Come from Worcester
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Here are some of Worcester's notable inventive firsts through the centuries!
Related Slideshow: Great Inventions That Come from Worcester
The first Rickshaw was created in Worcester not Asia.
Despite their immense popularity in Asia, the first Rickshaw was a Worcester invention. In 1846, Albert Tolman built what was described as a “man-drawn lorry” for a missionary on his way to South America. From there, the Rickshaw made its way to Asia.
The first practical typewriter was invented by Charles Thurber of Worcester.
Patented in 1843, this bulky version had all the essential characteristics of today’s modern machine. Thurber was the first to place the paper on a roller and give it the ability to do accurate letter and word spacing. Thurber created the machine so that people with visual impairments could feel the raised keys and it could help the “nervous” with poor handwriting skills.
Pressurized Space Suits
The first Pressurized Space Suits and Anti-G Suits were developed in Worcester.
As if that wasn’t enough firsts, the David Clark Company also created the space suit worn by astronaut Ed White in the first U.S. space walk in June of 1965. The company manufactured all of NASA’s Gemini space suits. Another company invention was the famous “Anti-G” suit that prevents pilots from blacking out when pulling out of high-speed dives . Pilots who wore the suits included Chuck Yeager and Neil Armstrong.
The first bicycle made in America was built in Worcester.
The idea for the first bicycle originated in England so it was appropriate that it was made by an Englishman, W.H. Pierce. It was constructed in 1878 at Stowe’s shop on Cypress Street in Worcester. In April 9th of the following year, the Worcester Bicycle Club was formed. Bicycles continued to gain in popularity with 175 sold in Worcester during 1888.
Valentine's Day Card
Worcester’s Esther Howland was the first person to mass-produce valentines in the U.S.
Esther Howland, a graduate of Mount Holyoke, was an artist and businesswoman who generated the Valentine’s Day greeting cards mass appeal in this country. In 1847, elaborate Valentine’s were only imported from Europe and were not available to the average American. Howland was a Worcester native, whose father owned the largest book and stationary store in Worcester so armed with supplies, she made up a dozen samples at home. Her brother took them out on his next sales trip and returned with $5,000 in orders. By 1874 she was using the name “The New England Valentine Company.” Her business eventually grossed $100,000 per year and she became known as ‘the Mother of the American Valentine”.
The first monkey wrench was invented in Worcester.
In 1840, Worcester knife manufacturer Loring Coes, of the Coes Knife Company, invented the first monkey wrench which was patented in 1841. For the next eighty-seven years, the Coes family filed numerous patents and manufactured extensive wrenches at their Worcester plant.
And last but not least...Worcester State Hospital was the first publicly financed Insane Asylum in the state.
Worcester Insane Hospital opened on January 12, 1833. During the first year, 164 patients were received. It continued to operate until on July 22, 1991 Worcester State Hospital, as it was known then, was mostly destroyed by fire and ending up closing later that year.
- Leading in Central MA: Betsy Fuller, Dean of Becker College
- Leading in Central MA: Heather C. Arndt, VP of BofA Merrill Lynch
- Leading in Central MA: Sweet’s Alina Eisenhauer
- Leading in Central MA: Bob Caron, Co-Founder of Body Therapeutics
- Leading in Central MA: Joe Cox, President of the EcoTarium
- Leading in Central MA: Worcester Local First’s Julie Theriault
- Did You Know? Central MA Did It First!
- Leading in Central MA: Body Therapeutics Co-Founder Jennifer Caron
- Leading in Central MA: Joshua Ahearn - VP of Ahearn Equipment
- Leading in Central Ma: Worcester Center for Crafts’ Honee A. Hess
- Cronut Craze: NYC’s Hottest Food Invented in Worcester?
- Leading in Central MA: Casey Cormier, VP of Angel-Guard Products
- Leading in Central MA: Justin Jarboe, CEO, The Jarboe Group
- Leading in Central Massachusetts: BNY Mellon VP, Tina Potenti
- In Case You Missed It: Was The Cronut Invented In Worcester?
- Leading in Central MA: Cheryll Toney Holley, Chief, Nipmuc Nation
- Leading in Central MA: Marcela Uribe-Jennings, Asst. Dean at WSU
- Leading in Central Massachusetts: Pamela Boisvert – CEO MassEdCO
- Leading In Central MA: Ctr. for Nonviolent Solutions’ Christa Drew
- Leading in Central MA: Entrepreneur, Jacqueline Dube
- Leading in Central MA: Naureen Meraj, Sr Global Director, NTT DATA
- Leading in Central MA: Mary Beth Benison, Living Her Dream
- Leading in Central MA: Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong
- Leading in Central MA: Paul Overton of The Center at Eagle Hill
- Leading in Central MA: Activist/Philanthropist Mary DeFeudis
- Leading in Central MA: Gallery of African Art’s Zach Combs
- Leading in Central MA: Ricci W. Hall, Principal Claremont Academy