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Top 20 Inventions You Didn't Know Were From Syracuse, NY - Created By Michael John Heagerty

Syracuse, NY was once known as "the cradle of industry." The Central New York area was home to a multitude of manufacturers in the late 19th century through the mid-1960s which produced a great era of prosperity and innovation for the city. You'll be surprised to find out about some of the inventions that were patented in Syracuse, that we use to this day. Learn more about Syracuse's illustrious history of industry and manufacturing on NOexcuses distinctive neighborhood tours - www.noexcusessyr.com Also check out #takeatour videos produced each week by the Syracuse New Times to learn about these inventions in short videos created by Michael John Heagerty, Christi Smith & Ty Marshal © Copyright 2014 - Michael John Heagerty All Rights Reserved.

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1. The Brannock Device for measuring shoe size

elaina j davidson / Via elainajdavidson.blogspot.com

Son of a shoe industry entrepreneur, Charles F. Brannock attended Syracuse University where he studied the arch of the foot and tinkered for 2 years until he had his first prototype patented in 1926. Today it is the international standard for measuring for footwear and samples can be found in the Smithsonian!

2. The Loafer

david macfadden elliott / Via blog.wingtip.com

Speaking of shoes, the A. E. Nettleton Shoe Company started in business in 1879 when Albert E. Nettleton purchased James Barrett's factory in Syracuse. They were known for quality products made by hand and would popularize the Algonquin and Loafer style of shoes both invented and patented in Syracuse, NY!

3. Serrated Edge Bread Knife

Chuck Wagoneer / Via chuckwagoneer.wordpress.com

Bread knives are used to cutting bread and are part of kitchen knifes used by chefs. They are serrated knives are able to cut soft bread without crushing it. You can thank Joseph E. Burns of Syracuse, New York for this patent!

4. The Mutoscope (first personal motion picture projector)

wikipedia / Via web.archive.org

The Mutoscope was an early motion picture device, patented by Herman Casler on November 21, 1894 in Syracuse, NY. This motion picture projector did not project on a screen, and provided viewing to only one person at a time, controlled by the viewer. Soon after it's invention it began dominating the coin-in-slot peep-show format. This was the first patented invention out of the Lipe machine Co.

5. The Franklin Automobile (first company to die-cast)

Ojibwa / Via dailykos.com

Herbert H. Franklin, founder of the H. H. Franklin Manufacturing Company and the first in the world in the machine die-casting business, moved his company to the Lipe Shop. (For those of you who know present day Syracuse the Lipe Shop is on the corner of S. Geddes and W. Fayette and known as the Gear Factory.) Herbert H. Franklin Later joined John Wilkinson - whose grandfather was the original pioneer that named our city, invented the air-cooled engine that was used in all Franklin Automobiles.

*NOTE - Ford also has ties to Syracuse's own Lipe Shop as the hi-low bi-gear that was invented by Lipe & Brown (orginally meant for a bicylce - but failed) was purchased by Henry Ford and placed inside his famous Model-T! Later on the Franklin Motor Co. merged with GM.

6. The first ever Traffic Signal

Michael John Heagerty / Via rte.ie

Tipp Hill's famous "green-over-red" upside down traffic light gets all the attention! But it was Crouse-Hinds Electric Company, a manufacturer of high grade electrical specialties, was established in 1897 in Syracuse, New York that manufactured the first traffic signals!

7. The Brown-Stillman Pneumatic Tire

Robert Messenger / Via oztypewriter.blogspot.com

ALexander T. Brown was an inventor, engineer, businessman and entrepreneur in Syracuse, New York and was credited with over 100 inventions. He invented the Smith Premier typewriter, the L. C. Smith breech-loading shotgun and the two-speed Hi-Lo Bi-Gear for bicycles.

It was browns pneumatic tire that began being manufactured in 1895 that garnered him lots of attention. In July of that year, auto manufacturer, Charles Duryea used the Brown-Stillman tires on his "motorized wagon" and won the $5,000 first prize in the 54 miles (87 km) automobile race which was reported as the first automobile race held in the United States.

8. The First multi-shift Bicycle Gear

Nconwaymicelli / Via en.wikipedia.org

The C. E. Lipe Machine Shop was established in Syracuse, New York in 1880. The building became an early industrial incubator and was commonly known as the Lipe Shop. While Lipe worked on his own ideas, he rented out facilities to others (Such as Alexander T. Brown.) It was 1884 that the Brown-Lip Gear Co got its start, when the two engineers invented their two-speed Hy-Lo Bi-Gear for bicycles (mentioned earlier). Although the bicycle gear failed to catch on during the days of the two-wheelers, it soon found a lucrative market in the automobile industry.

9. Salt Potatoes

Holly Helps / Via hollyhelps.org

All this talk of inventions has got us hungry - The salt industry has a long history in and around Syracuse, New York. Jesuit missionaries visiting the region in 1654 were the first to report salty brine springs around the southern end of "Salt Lake," known today as Onondaga Lake. Fast forward to the years of the erie canal being dug by the irish and german immigrants and you've got the number one side staple of our region.

During the 19th century, Irish salt miners would bring a bag of small, unpeeled, substandard potatoes to work each day. Come lunch time, they boiled the potatoes in the "free-flowing" salt brines - boiling them up.

By the early 20th century, the potatoes were a Central New York favorite and local entrepreneur, John Hinerwadel, started serving them as a side "at his famous clambakes."

**The white hot is a variation on the hot dog found in the Upstate New York area. The white hot originated in Rochester, but the Hoffman Coney or "Snappy" was born in Syracuse. A spicy dog + salt potatoes = taste bud euphoria.

10. Cathedral Candles

Cathedral Candle / Via cathedralcandle.com

Cathedral Candle Company is a family-owned and –operated candle manufacturer in Syracuse, New York. Founded by Jacob Steigerwald in 1897, the company is now in its fourth generation of Steigerwald family management and is one of the leading suppliers of church candles in the U.S. - Cathedral Candle Company opened at 510 Kirkpatrick Street in 1897, where it still maintains its sole manufacturing operation today.

Cathedral Candles have been used by bishops, cardinals, and popes, including Benedict XVI during his 2008 visit to the United States

The first wax business in the country was founded by Anton & Rosini Will in 1855. Later they opened Will & Baumer Candle Company in Liverpool - the company that Jacob was recruited to work for.

11. The Dentist Chair

the “High-Low”Wilkerson dental chair (1886) / Via collectmedicalantiques.com

In 1848, Milton Waldo Hanchett of Syracuse, NY, patented the dental chair. Everyone hates the dentist, but no one hates a reclining chair!

12. State Fair + First Ferris Wheel in the US!

Lower photo by Samantha Decker / Via ttgphoto.com

The first New York State Fair was held on N. Salina Street in Syracuse, NY. The New York State Fair is the longest running state fair in the country.

**The first Ferris wheel built in the United States also! Built here in Syracuse for the New York State Fair by two Erie Canal workers. A popular attraction at the 1849 fair was a wheel 50 feet high, made of iron and oak with wooden buckets large enough to carry four adults or six children each. It was operated by hand power and a system of ropes. Samuel Hurst, a Syracusan and the State Fair operator, developed this forerunner of the Ferris wheel with James Mulholland, a carpenter from Scotland who had seen a similar wheel in Edinburgh.

13. First Drive-thru

McLellans / Via mclellansautomotive.com

Always innovative, in 1949 Merchants National Bank and Trust Company created the very first automobile "drive-in bank" (although Syracuse Savings Bank had a teller's window on the canal towpath as early as the 1870's).

Soon it would become the norm for banks and fast food service across the US.

14. The Time Clock

Rodw / Via en.wikipedia.org

All this talk of time-saving leads us to the next few innovations of CNY...

A jeweler in Auburn, New York named Willard Le Grand Bundy created a patent in November of 1888. It speaks of mechanical time recorders for workers in terms that suggest that earlier recorders already existed, but Bundy's had various improvements; for example, each worker had his own key.

**one year later at Auburn Prison in New York, the first execution by electrocution (The electric Chair) in history is carried out against William Kemmler, who had been convicted of murdering his lover, Matilda Ziegler, with an axe. "Old Sparky" the original chair can be found at the popular Balloons Steakhouse directly across the street from the penitentiary.

15. The Shot Clock

Basketball Hall of Fame / Via soletron.com

The shot clock first came to use in 1954 in Syracuse, New York, where Syracuse Nationals owner Danny Biasone experimented using a 24-second version during a scrimmage game. The formula was simple - 48 minutes = 2,880 seconds divided 120 shots = The result was 24 seconds per shot. The original shot clock is on display at LeMoyne College - the Shot clock monument can be found in Armory Square, in downtown Syracuse.

** Biasone convinced the NBA to adopt the shot clock in the 1954-55 Season. His Syracuse Nationals won the championship that year for the first and last time. The Nats would later turn into the Philadelphia 76ers. The first shot clock used in a NBA Game between the Rochester Royals and Boston Celtics.

16. Sani-Grip

Gerber Toilets / Via trademarkia.com

Charlie E. Vinal began his professional career in the food service industry working in several establishments, including the Inn Between, LeMoyne College and later going on to own a restaurant in Camillus, Marcino's.

Charlie was the president and the inventor of Sani-Grip Inc. A device that would attach to the toilet seat cover so you would not have to touch the seat to lift it.

17. MAGTITE Magnetic Tape Holster

Benjamen Johnson / Via toolmonger.com

Stephen B. Potter was a graduate of Fayetteville-Manlius High School and attended Syracuse University. For years he worked at Pastabilites as a bartender. Steve had an unparalleled sense of humor; to know him was to laugh both with him and at him until 1991 when he invented, patented and brought to market the Magtite, a magnetic tape measure holder.

Contractors everywhere began using this tool belt staple.

18. Arm and Hammer Baking Soda

AlwaysSomething4You on etsy / Via etsy.com

Soda Ash - Sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda, soda ash and soda crystals) was imported into the US from Europe until former Syracuse resident William B. Cogswell envisioned utilizing the process in America, in particular, Solvay, NY.

To produce soda ash, the Solvay process requires salt brine and limestone, both of which were readily secured in this area. Wells in the town of Tully provided salt brine, pumped through a pipeline to Solvay. A remarkable elevated conveyor, with buckets suspended from a cable loop, passed by means of a tunnel through a hill to deliver stone from company quarries at Split Rock, in the Town of Onondaga, about four miles to the south.

The village grew around the "Solvay Process Plant." The Church and Dwight Company, producer of "Arm and Hammer Baking Soda," which used material from the Solvay Process, built a production facility nearby.

19. First Synthetic Penicillin

Dr Wilson Baker / Via iwm.org.uk

The research of Frank Buckwalter, H. Leo Dickison, and Amel Menotti of Bristol Laboratories in Syracuse supported development of the first synthetic penicillin, hailed as safer and more effective than previous forms of the drug. (1948) It wasn't until 10 years later that they were able to safely manufacture the drug. There experiments in the fermentation process made them a key supplier to the U.S. War Productions Board Crash program to mass produce penicillin for the Armed Forces.

20. The first Literacy Volunteer Organization

Salt District / Via saltdistrict.com

Ruth Johnson Colvin, founded Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc. in 1962. It is a national, educational, non-profit organization with staff at the local, state and national levels and a volunteer board of directors. Colvin was the first president of the organization and a lifetime member of the board of directors.

Today you may recognize their headquarters in the Near West Side called ProLiteracy.

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