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14 Random Things You Couldn’t Enjoy If It Wasn’t For New Jersey

Bubble wrap! Jon Stewart!! Light bulbs!!!

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1. Bubble Wrap

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Alfred W. Fielding, born in Hackensack, invented Bubble Wrap in his garage in Hawthorne. Fielding and his co-engineer were originally trying to cook up a new form of wallpaper, but the result ended up better for use as a (fun-as-hell to pop) packing material.

4. Frozen Dinners

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There's some dispute over the invention of the "TV dinner" as a concept, but in 1944, William Maxson created the first packaged frozen dinners. His W.L. Maxson Co. sold the dinners to the Navy and various airlines. Maxson told The New Yorker that he "got the idea... when he grew a surplus of cauliflower on his place in Jersey. He cooked and froze a little (for some reason) and upon tasting it a year later (for some reason) found that it was delicious."


5. Teflon

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Dr. Roy J. Plunkett was an engineer at Dupont, in Deepwater, NJ, when he accidentally created the substance that keeps all your pots non-stick as hell. He was "conducting an experiment on a possible new refrigerant when he discovered he had created a new product" and once he tested that product's properties, he knew he had something special.

6. Condensed Soup

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Dr. John T. Dorrance invented the formula for condensed soup for Campbell's — based in Camden — in 1897. More than a century of soup, from New Jersey to you. You're welcome.

8. M&Ms

Forrest Mars Sr. teamed up with Bruce Murrie, the son of a Hershey executive (hence M&Ms) to make these sugar-coated chocolates in Newark, NJ. Interestingly, M&Ms were originally only sold to the US military — a natural fit because the candies are more resistant to heat and can be easily packed.


9. Jon Stewart

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The former Daily Show host and current cool-beard-haver grew up in Lawrenceville. Jon and his wife Tracey are also turning their farm in Middletown into an animal sanctuary, so we can thank him for that too. 🐷🐣


14. Safe Drinking Water

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Before Charles Frederick Wallace introduced his invention the chlorinator to the Boonton, NJ reservoir in 1913, people were regularly getting sick and dying just from contaminated drinking water. Wallace, who lived in Westfield for 50 years with his wife, was inducted into the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame in 1996.