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15 Random Things You Can Totally Thank Texas For

Margaritas and Barney together at last!


1. 7-Eleven

Via Flickr: jeepersmedia

Every time you gulp down a Slurpee, thank the Lone Star State. Back in 1927, Southland Ice Company employee “Uncle Johnny” Jefferson Green started selling staples (think milk, bread, eggs) at the company's pop-up ice house storefronts. The grocery items were such a hit that the company rolled the idea out to its 21 retail docks, and the convenience store was born! The ice docks eventually evolved into Tote'm Stores, which were later renamed 7-Eleven — to reflect the stores' original operating hours — in 1946.

2. Frozen Margaritas

Via Flickr: jypsygen

Yes, margaritas originated in Mexico. But in 1971, Dallas restauranteur Mariano Martinez retrofitted a soft-serve machine, poured in some margarita mix, and out came what is now one of America's favorite drinks. Fun fact: In 2005, the National American History Museum acquired Martinez's original machine.

3. Barney


Former inner-city school teacher Sheryl Leach brought Barney to life in 1987 when she saw a gap in the preschool home video market. It wasn't until 1992 that Barney became a cultural phenomenon, when PBS stations across the country started broadcasting Leach's videos. The series stopped production in 2009, but was filmed all over the Dallas area — which explains why Dallas natives Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato were part of the cast.

4. Breast Implants

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In 1962, two Houston doctors changed the world...of cosmetic surgery, at least. Frank Gerow and Thomas Cronin developed silicone breast implants in hopes they would become the go-to for reconstructive surgeries. They are, but they're also used in cosmetic augmentations around the world — more than 1.5 million women got boob jobs in 2012.

5. Whole Foods

Chad Perez

Your health-conscious friend's favorite grocery store got its start in Austin, Texas, back in 1980. Four local grocers banded together and created one of the nation's first natural-food supermarkets. The company started expanding across Texas, then to neighboring states, and eventually across the country. Today, Whole Foods serves up organic produce and crazy bath products at more than 410 stores in 42 different U.S. states, Canada, and the U.K.

6. The Super Bowl

Christian Petersen / Getty Images

The concept of the NFL championship wasn't born in Texas, but its name was. Well, born of a Texan, so it counts. American Football League founder Lamar Hunt, who called Dallas home, coined the term "Super Bowl" in a NFL owners meeting in the 1960s — but it wasn't printed on game tickets until 1970. Hunt said he must've subconsciously been thinking about his children's Wham-O Superballs when it slipped out. The rest is history.

7. Fritos


Like the margarita, the concept of a fried corn chip comes from Mexico — but the Frito is uniquely Texan. During The Depression, San Antonio confectioner Charles Elmer Doolin bought a bag of fried chips from a local gas station, and decided he could totally make his own. So, he perfected his own recipe and started selling the chips. They were a hit, and later spawned eponymous restaurants at Disneyland and in Dallas. Doolin partnered with Herman Lay in 1959, forming the Frito-Lay company, which makes all your favorite snacks and is now headquartered in Plano, Texas.

8. The Modern ATM

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The first automatic teller machines (you guys, that's what ATM actually stands for!) made its American debut in New York in 1969 — but all it could do was dispense cash. ATMs as we know them today, with depositing capabilities, account balance information, etc., were the brainchild of Don Wetzel, an executive at Dallas-based baggage handling firm Docutel. Wetzel's networked version of the ATM made its debut in 1971, and today there are more than 1 million versions of Wetzel's machine around the world.

9. The Microchip

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You like your smartphone, right? And your computer? You obviously like the internet — you're on it right now. Well, thank Texas. Texas Instruments, the Dallas-based electronics powerhouse, rocked the world in 1959 when it introduced the microchip at the Radio Engineers' annual trade show in New York. No one knew it at the time, though — it would take years for the integrated circuit to become the foundation of, well, pretty much every technological innovation we know and love today.

10. Liquid Paper

Patrick Duffy / Getty Images

OK, so maybe just your '90s self who pretended Wite-Out was nail polish will be thanking Texas here, but still. While Bette Nesmith Graham was a secretary at Texas Bank and Trust in the 1950s, she started using tempera paint and a thin paintbrush to cover her typing mistakes. She started bottling her own paint concoction in 1956 as "Mistake Out," eventually patenting it and renaming it Liquid Paper. BIC's similar product, Wite-Out, wasn't trademarked until 1974.

11. Chili's

Chili's / Brinker International

If the baby back rib jingle has ever been stuck in your head, then, yes, you can thank (or curse?) Texas. The ubiquitous chain restaurant got its start in 1975, when Larry Lavine opened the first Chili's Grill & Bar in Dallas. What started as a pretty simple burger joint soon became a fast casual restaurant empire, which expanded to include Macaroni Grill, Maggiano’s Little Italy, and On the Border.

12. Fajitas


Fajitas are a staple on Mexican restaurant menus today, but they actually got their start in Texas' Rio Grande Valley. Ranch hands and vaqueros are said to have invented the cooking method in the 1930s, but it wasn't until 1969 that they became a commercial success. That's when Sonny Falcon opened up a fajita stand in Kyle, Texas — not too far from Austin. From there, fajitas expanded onto Tex-Mex menus across the state and, eventually, across the world.

13. Shopping Centers

Peter A. Calvin / Courtesy Highland Park Village

Let's be real: Shopping is an American pastime, and the modern shopping center got its start in Dallas. Luxury retail center Highland Park Village opened in 1931, becoming the nation's first group of stores with a parking lot. Its also considered America's first planned shopping center — it wasn't just a bunch of stores built near each other. Highland Park Village was designed with a unified architectural style, "all built and managed under a single ownership."

14. Corn Dogs

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Where else would the ultimate fair food have gotten its start but in Texas? Brothers Carl and Neil Fletcher sold the first "Fletcher's Corny Dog" at the State Fair of Texas in 1942. Since then, everyone from Julia Child to Oprah has taken a bite of the battered treat.

15. Dr Pepper

Via Flickr: jeepersmedia

Coca-Cola might be king, but Dr Pepper is at least prince, right? Dr Pepper Snapple Group is the country's oldest manufacturer of soft drink syrups — and it got its start in Waco, Texas, back in 1885 (Coca-Cola wasn't a thing until a year later). Originally sold at the Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store soda fountain, Dr Pepper went national in 1904, when it was introduced at the World's Fair in St. Louis.

God Bless Texas!