6 Amazing Things That Were Invented in Washington State
The ancient Greek philosopher Plato's work Republic gave us the phrase "Necessity is the Mother of Invention". Over the millennia that humans have walked the planet, we have been consistently inventing things with the goal of making life easier.
There have been a number of things invented in Washington State, some more loosely attributes through association, than others. The following are things that were invented in Washington State that have had a major impact on our society.
1. The Backpack
It seems crazy to think the backpack could have been invented anywhere else. There were some other inventions to help carry items as far back as the 1870s, but it was Lloyd Nelson, who is credited with inventing the 'Trapper Backpack', that gave us the design for the first mass produced model, in 1922.
2. The Modern Airliner
Yes, Orville and Wilbur Wright invented the first successfully powered airplane in 1903. The first 'modern' airliner was the Boeing 247 in 1933. The government was interested in advancing the ability of airplanes to fly under any condition, so they began offering incentives. Boeing, who also invented the two passenger 40A and 40B (mainly used to transport mail) was the first to invent a plane that could fly at night, had multiple engines, two way radios, and other features that enhances safety as well as speed. It was also the first pane that featured retractable landing gear...game changer for sure.
3. The Bass Guitar
The first electric bass guitar that could be held horizontally was invented by Paul Tutmarc of Seattle. It was a solid wood body made of walnut. The Audiovox hit the market in 1936 and was sold by the L.D. Heater Music Company in Portland, Oregon. That was sixteen years before Leo Fender got his hands on the bass. Tutmarc also designed an amplifier to with his Audiovox bass to boot.
4. Portable Heart Defibrillator
Dr. Karl William Edmark, a physician and inventor in Seattle, designed the first direct current (DC) defibrillator. Edmark was the founder of Physio Control Corporation, and in 1955 he designed the first defibrillator that would deliver lower energy shock to patients that resulted in much less trauma than the alternate current (AC) defibrillators that were the go to at that time. The first life saved by his pulse defibrillator was that of a 12-year-old girl in Seattle in 1961. The rest is medical history.
5. Lunar Rover
Built in Kent by Boeing in 1969, the Lunar Rover was a major innovation that aided astronauts in their final three missions to the moon. From greenlight to completion took just 17 months. The Rover weighed close to 500 pounds on Earth but less than 100 on the moon. The rover's ability to navigate rough terrain at speeds of 10 miles per hour while carrying two astronauts and collected samples made it an engineering marvel. The technology used in the lunar rover was later applied to motorized wheelchairs.
If you don't think for a second that the invention of the 'Cinnabon' hasn't had a major impact on society...then you have never eaten one! It started with the passion of Rich and Greg Koman, owners of the Seattle based Restaurants Unlimited. They wanted to create the "World's Best Cinnamon Roll"...and they did. The secret may have been cinnamon from Indonesia or the cream cheese frosting, I don't know for sure. What I do know is that not long after the first 'Cinnabon' opened at Sea Tac Mall in 1985 the world, and human taste buds, were changed forever. Cinnabon did roughly $1.3 million in revenue in 2022.
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Gallery Credit: Charlotte Barnett