July’s Trailblazers: 10 Famous Inventions Throughout History

July in America is a time to take pride in our country and celebrate the history that led us to where we are today. Independence Day falls on July 4th, but our celebration of American history extends throughout the month. 

We’re rounding up 10 things that have notably impacted America that were either invented, patented, or underwent a significant milestone in the month of July. 

  1. Air Conditioning
    • In 1902, an engineer, Willis Carrier, invented the first modern air conditioner in Brooklyn, New York. Carrier was experimenting to solve a moisture problem at a printing plant. 
  1. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
    • On July 25, 1978, Louise Brown became the first baby born through In Vitro Fertilization, also known as IVF. IVF is a process that involves fertilizing an egg with sperm outside of the body and is the most common type of assisted reproductive technology. 
  1. First US Patent
    • On July 31, 1790, the United States Patent and Trademark Office opened and issued its first patent to a man named Samuel Hopkins for a process of making potash, an ingredient used in fertilization. 
  1. Graham Cracker
    • On July 5, 1794, Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham invented the graham cracker — a staple today, especially on the 4th of July as many Americans enjoy s’mores! 
  1. NASA
    • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was founded on July 29, 1958. The Apollo 11 mission occurred 11 years later, on July 20, 1969, and Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon. 
  1. Rotary Printing Press 
    • Richard Hoe patented the rotary printing press on July 24, 1987. 
  1. ZIP Code
    • On July 1, 1963, the ZIP Code was implemented as part of a larger plan to improve the speed of mail delivery nationwide. 
  1. Pacemaker
    • On July 22, 1960, a patent was filed for a medical cardiac pacemaker. It was granted two years later, on October 9, 1962. 
  1. Penicillin 
    • On July 24, 1956, a patent for an oral form of Penicillin was granted.
  1. Insulin
    • On July 27, 1921, the hormone insulin was isolated for the first time by Canadian surgeon Frederick Banting and University of Toronto medical student Charles Best. 

Inventions That Have Changed Independence Day Celebrations

In addition to the interesting things created or patented in the month of July, there have also been inventions that have significantly impacted the way the 4th of July is celebrated. 

Some of those inventions include: 

  • The Sparkler
    • The patent for the sparklers we know, love, and see in abundance on Independence Day was granted on August 12, 1936. 
  • The Charcoal Grill
    • In the 1950s, George Stephen revolutionized backyard grilling when he created the first covered charcoal grill. 
  • Fireworks
    • The origins of fireworks can be traced back 2,000 years to China. They were refined over the decades and made their way to Europe in the 13th Century. 
  • Anti-Anxiety Shirts for Pets
    • Pet parents with anxious dogs at home know that the 4th of July can be a hard day for their pups. The patent for the Thundershirt was filed in 2012 and granted in 2016. 
  • Coolers
    • Richard Laramy filed a request to patent the portable ice chest on February 24, 1951, and it was granted on December 22, 1953.
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