This is my second blog for the February Aspire/Inspire Buddy Support Group challenge. For blog 2 participants were given 2 options. I elected to blog on option 1 – National Inventor’s day.
February 11, the United States recognizes National Inventors' Day, a day to salute past and present great inventors. First signed into declaration on February 11, 1983, President Ronald Reagan chose the date because it was Thomas Edison’s birthday. (Edison was born February 11, 1847, and held more than 1,000 patents throughout his lifetime.) On this day, we celebrate great inventors worldwide and their genius in recognition of the valuable contributions they make to all of our lives.
There are several inventions I don’t think I could do without – electric is probably the primary one. With so many appliances being used today, electric is the primary driver. Had there been no electricity, these appliances would never have come about.
Since I currently live in Southwest Ohio, I wanted to hi-light a few inventions that have come out of the greater Cincinnati area (aka the Queen City). Thomas Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, just four hours from Cincinnati. According to a 2020 report from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble has the nation’s highest rate of women inventors. P&G, which makes products such as Pepto-Bismol, Crest toothpaste and Vicks cold medicine, has a 29.3% average women inventor rate. Only three companies on the list have a rate higher 20%. With these kinds of numbers, it’s no wonder Cincinnati has been a hotspot for inventors over the years. Here are a few notable names from Greater Cincinnati who helped develop useful, creative or wacky items for locals and beyond.
Granville T. Woods – He moved to Cincinnati in 1880, was an established engineer and inventor. He invented the Synchronous Multiplex Railway Telegraph and patented it in 1887, while still living in the Queen City. The system allowed train stations and moving trains to communicate by using a coiled wire under the train to create a magnetic field. Over the course of his career, Woods had more than 50 patents for inventions, including an egg incubator, automatic brake and steam boiler furnace.
Joseph and Noah McVicker – He was born in 1929 and was hired to head Kutol Products Company in Cincinnati after the death of his father in 1949. The company made soap and wallpaper cleaner, and McVicker realized the wallpaper cleaner could be used as a modeling clay. He called this clay Play-Doh. In 1956, Joseph and his uncle Noah began the Rainbow Crafts Company, Inc., with the purpose of manufacturing and selling Play-Doh.
George Sperti – He was born in Covington in 1900 and attended the University of Cincinnati. He is most known for inventing Preparation H hemorrhoid medication, but he obtained more than 127 patents for various inventions, including Aspercreme for pain relief and the Sperti Ultraviolet lamp. The lamp added Vitamin D to milk without changing its flavor and was sold to General Foods for $300,000.
Ann More – She went to the University of Cincinnati and ended up teaching pediatric nursing at the Babies Hospital of Columbia University in New York City. After visiting Togo in 1952 with the Peace Corps, More observed that all the babies were carried on the mother’s back. After returning to the United States, More birthed her own daughter, Mandela, and developed the Snugli. It was modeled after the African method of holding the baby, and by 1969 More had been granted a patent for the Snugli. By 1985, when More sold the company, over 1.5 million babies were carried in a Snugli.
Ted McCarty – He was born in Somerset, Kentucky, and earned an engineering degree from the University of Cincinnati. In 1948, he was hired by Gibson Guitars and named the company's president in1950. During his time there, the Gibson Les Paul was designed. McCarty also developed the humbucking pickup, Tune-o-matic bridge system and many of Gibson’s other iconic guitars. Though he never played the guitar, his period at Gibson became known as “Gibson’s golden age of electric guitars.”