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Invented in Tennessee


1. Cotton candy was invented in Nashville, TN. Cotton candy was invented in 1897 by William Morrison and John C. Wharton, candy makers from Nashville, TN. They invented a device that heated sugar in a spinning bowl that had tiny holes in it. It formed a treat that they originally called "Fairy Floss." As the bowl spun around, the caramelized sugar was forced through the tiny holes, making feathery candy that melts in the mouth. Morrison and Wharton introduced cotton candy to the world at the St. Louis World's Fair (1904) and sold huge amounts of it for 25 cents a box (that was a substantial amount of money back then). They sold about 68,655 boxes at that fair. The term "cotton candy" began to be used in the USA around 1920. In the United Kingdom, this treat is called "candy floss."


2. The Dempster Dumpster was invented in Knoxville, TN. The year was 1935 when 48 year old Knoxville inventor, George Roby Dempster, came up with the idea for the Dempster-Dumpster. It was designed to aide in the pick up of used construction materials in order to transport them away. This new idea quickly turned into the first garbage collection system in the United States, with Knoxville, TN becoming the first “Dumpster City,” in 1937. Now the term "Dumpster" is known world-wide as the container to throw your garbage in.


3. The Atomic Bomb was partially invented in Oak Ridge, TN. On August 2, 1939, just before the beginning of World War II, Albert Einstein wrote to then President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Einstein and several other scientists told Roosevelt of efforts in Nazi Germany to purify uranium-235, which could be used to build an atomic bomb. It was shortly thereafter that the United States Government began the serious undertaking known then only as "The Manhattan Project." Simply put, the Manhattan Project was committed to expediting research that would produce a viable atomic bomb. The facility in Oak Ridge was responsible for isolating the uranium isotopes required for the bomb. All of this took place in the "secret city" of Oak Ridge, TN.


4. Miniature Golf was invented in Chattanooga, TN. Garnet Carter was the first person to patent a game of miniature golf which he called "Tom Thumb Golf" in 1927. The golf course was built on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN, to draw traffic to the hotel that Carter owned.


5. Mountain Dew was invented in Knoxville, TN. Many places want to take credit for being the birthplace of Mountain Dew. You can do a Google search on it and you will find numerous sites that claim that it came from this place or another, however, go to the source, Mountain Dew, and look at their history. Yep, Knoxville, TN is the birthplace of that sweet, syrupy stuff.


6. The Touchscreen Monitor was invented in Oak Ridge, TN. Elographics, Inc. was founded by ten stockholders in March, 1971, to produce Graphical Data Digitizers for use in research and industrial applications, with the principal being Dr. Sam Hurst. He was on leave from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to teach at the University of Kentucky for two years, where he was faced with a need to read a huge stack of strip chart data. Read more here.


7. The MoonPie was invented in Chattanooga, TN. The Chattanooga Bakery was founded in the early 1900's as a subsidiary of the Mountain City Flour Mill in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The bakery's original purpose was to use the excess flour produced by the mill. By 1910, the bakery offered over 200 different confectionery items. In 1917, the bakery developed a product which is still known as the MoonPie. Read more here.


8. IdleAire was invented in Knoxville, TN. IdleAire is a privately-held corporation formed in June, 2000. Corporate headquarters and a research and development center are located in Knoxville, Tennessee. The company is the outgrowth of a challenge originally issued to A.C. Wilson, a Tellico Plains, Tennessee, contractor, by his brother-in-law, a long haul truck driver fresh off a New Jersey run. How could a driver park, shut off the engine (along with its noise, fumes and vibration) and still stay warm or cool while having access to the comforts of home? It so happened that the challenge came during a vacation stay at an RV park. During the night, A.C. tackled the challenge, sketching the first design for an independent, external system that would deliver to a truck cab the same sorts of services inherent in an RV. The next morning he presented his sketches to his brother-in-law. A.C. and his partners located an experienced management team who could form a company, IdleAire Technologies Corporation, and take his idea to market. Read more here.

9. Krystal Hamburgers invented in Chattanooga, TN. Founded October 24, 1932 in Chattanooga, Tennessee in the first years of the Great Depression, entrepreneur Rody Davenport Jr. and partner J. Glenn Sherrill theorized that even in a severe economic upheaval, "People would patronize a restaurant that was kept spotlessly clean, where they could get a good meal with courteous service at the lowest possible price." Krystal is the second-oldest hamburger chain in the United States and the oldest in the South. Read more here.


11. The Tow Truck was invented in Chattanooga, TN. The towing industry was born in 1916 in the city of Chattanooga, after Ernest Holmes, Sr., a native Chattanoogan, helped a friend retrieve his car with three poles, a pulley and a chain hooked to the frame of a 1913 Cadillac. After patenting his invention, Holmes began manufacturing wreckers and towing equipment for sale to automotive garages and anyone interested in retrieving and towing wrecked or disabled autos. His first manufacturing facility was a small shop on Market Street, just a few blocks from where the present International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and museum is located. Read more here.


12. The VeinViewer was invented in Memphis, TN. Health care workers can now take a page out of Superman's book with a new technology that can give them a type of X-ray vision, helping them find well-hidden veins in patients. The device, known as the VeinViewer, was invented by Tennessee-based company Luminetx Technology Corp., and costs about $20,000. It uses a pulse of near-infrared light to illuminate the hemoglobin in veins, making them visible under the skin, which allows for more precise use of a needle when health care workers are administering medication or drawing blood. Read more here.


13. The Typewriter Ribbon was invented in Memphis, TN. The typewriter ribbon was patented in 1886 in US that were awarded to George K. Anderson of Memphis, Tennessee with No. 349,026. Though typewriter was patented in 1829 Christopher Latham Sholes did not invent the first successful machine until 1873. He coined the term "type - writer" to describe his device, which he called a "literary piano". His first prototype was finished exactly 13 years and 2 days before Anderson’s ribbon patent was issued. Read more here.


14. The First Self-Service Grocery store was invented in Memphis, TN. Piggly Wiggly®, America's first true self-service grocery store, was founded in Memphis, Tennessee in 1916 by Clarence Saunders. In grocery stores of that time, shoppers presented their orders to clerks who gathered the goods from the store shelves. Saunders, a flamboyant and innovative man, noticed this method resulted in wasted time and man hours, so he came up with an unheard-of solution that would revolutionize the entire grocery industry: he developed a way for shoppers to serve themselves. Read more here.


15. Check Into Cash industry- pioneers of the payday advance service. In 1993, a new payday advance service was born in Tennessee. The first office opened in Cleveland, TN which is now Corporate Headquarters for offices located throughout the United States. Read more here.


16. Goo-Goo Cluster - In 1912, in a copper kettle at the Standard Candy Company at Clark & First Avenue in Nashville, TN, the world’s first ever combination candy bar was invented. A roundish mound of caramel, marshmallow nougat, fresh roasted peanuts and real milk chocolate; its renegade shape was more difficult to wrap than the conventional rectangular or square shapes of the day. More importantly, this was the first time multiple elements were being mass-produced in a retail confection. Previous to the advent of the Goo Goo Cluster, candy bar manufacturing consisted of bars of only chocolate, only caramel or taffy. The Goo Goo Cluster represented the first time a bar consisted of more than just one principal ingredient.


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