In 1641, the Massachusetts General Court issued the first patent in North America to Samuel Winslow for a new method of making salt. On April 10, 1790, President George Washington signed the Patent Act of 1790 (1 Stat. From apple pie to the first car, here are 16 things that may not be as American as you thought. Despite the phrase that qualifies it as the zenith of American culture (as American as apple pie), this fruity, flaky dessert did not originate in the United States.
Both Dutch and British colonists are credited with bringing the humble apple pie to the Americas. Some of the most innovative technologies in the modern world emerged during this 30-year period. The Gilded Age was a time of radical change. From about 1870 to 1900, the United States went from being a mostly agrarian society of farmers and small producers to an industrial economy based on large cities.
During those few decades, there was also an explosion of innovation in the fields of engineering, chemistry and technology, bringing us some of the most innovative inventions in the modern world. Thomas Edison was by far the most prolific and well-known inventor of the Gilded Age, and his fame began with the phonograph, the first machine for recording and reproducing sound. In the 1870s, Edison invented a device that could record telegraphic messages by making indentations in a roll of tape corresponding to the electrical impulses of the telegraph. During the summer of 1877, Edison refined the design and experimented with different engraving media, and finally chose a rotating metal cylinder coated with a thin sheet of aluminum.
He received a patent for the phonograph on February 19, 1878 and launched the Edison Speaking Phonograph Company a month later. In 1879, Edison patented his new light bulb, which could burn for 14.5 hours using a charred cotton thread as a filament. When Edison replaced cotton filament with bamboo, his bulbs could burn for a whopping 1,200 hours. Previous inventors had mounted gasoline engines on wheeled vehicles decades before Benz, but their creations never got off the ground.
Benz arrived at a better time and presented its Patent Motor Car No. Starting in the 1830s, horse-drawn streetcars and trolleybuses became the first urban public transportation systems in the United States and Europe. Then, in 1881, German engineer Werner von Siemens built the first electric streetcar in the suburbs of Berlin. The 10-horsepower streetcar engine was powered by overhead cables and could carry 50 passengers at a maximum speed of 12 m, e.g.
the Richmond Union passenger railroad became the prototype for more than 110 electric streetcar systems built around the world in the late 1880s and early 1890s. The Sprague system, which used overhead electrical cables powered by central generators, convinced a skeptical public that electric cars were safe and effective. On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright tested their first powered aircraft at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. It is now in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.