Home / Archaeology and History / From ice cream cones to monster trucks, numerous innovations began in Missouri
missouri innovations
Photos: Unsplash.

From ice cream cones to monster trucks, numerous innovations began in Missouri

Most people know that Missouri is the home of Harry Truman, Jesse James and Mickey Mouse. Fox 2 News in St. Louis uncovered a few other random innovations that had their beginning in the Show Me State.

  • Automatic fire alarms. Kansas City Fire Chief George Hale is remembered for a wide range of firefighting inventions throughout his employment for 31 years in the late 1800s. One invention was the automatic fire alarm, which alerted the central fire station to where firefighters needed to be dispatched. Hale once was considered the world’s most famous firefighter, according to the Kansas City Public Library.
  • Ice cream cones. At the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, Ernest Hamwi was in the booth next to a popular ice cream vendor. When the ice cream booth ran out of cups to hold the treat, Hamwi used his waffle-like pastry, zalabis, as a replacement. This quick fix introduced what we now know as the ice cream cone.
  • Monster trucks. In 1974, Missourian Bob Chandler purchased a new Ford F-250 and later opened his own market for truck supplies after noticing how limited parts were near him. His new enhanced truck became known as “Bigfoot” and led to the world of monster trucks.
  • Pancake mix. When Charles Rutt and Charles Underwood purchased the bankrupt Pearl Milling Co., they took the initiative to make better use of flour. Although Rutt and Underwood did not entirely find success, their foundation of the product carried on to be Aunt Jemima pancake mix a few years later.
  • Mood rings. James Fergason of Wakenda, Mo., performed innovative research on liquid crystals in the late 1950s. He learned they were sensitive to heat conducted from the finger, which in return, changed the color of the liquid crystals. Fergason holds the patent for the mood ring.
  • Osteopathic medicine. Andrew Taylor Still moved to the small town of Kirksville, Mo., in 1875, promoting the idea of treating not symptoms but the overall disease. The Museum of Osteopathic Medicine is located at A.T. Still University.
  • Charles Leiper Grigg, another St. Louis local, worked for manufacturing companies and developed several carbonated drinks before leaving to co-own another company in the late 1920s. When Grigg saw he couldn’t compete in the orange-flavored beverage industry, he instead focused on a lemon-lime flavor. The original 7UP was named Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda.
  • Public kindergarten. St. Louis native Susan Elizabeth Blow founded the first public kindergarten in Des Peres in 1873. Blow would run the facility for 11 years, unpaid, according to the Visit Missouri website.
  • Iced tea. Another vendor at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, Richard Blechynden, was having a difficult time selling steaming tea on an already warm day. To make it more refreshing, Blechnynden added ice cubes to the drink and as simple as that, iced tea came to fruition.
  • Kewpie dolls. Rose O’Neill was an off-and-on resident in the Ozarks. In the early 1900s, she started drawing Kewpies, which instantly became a success and contributed to her title as the highest-paid female illustrator in 1914.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

Mosnter Truck: Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash, icecream cone: Photo by Rachael Gorjestani on Unsplash

Leave a Reply