The STEM Way

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The STEM Way

10 Interesting invention stories!


Free stock photo of food, yellow, fat, colors

Potato Chips

Inventor: George Crum

George Crum was a chef at a hotel. One day a customer ordered fried potatoes and then complained that they were too thick! Crum was upset because of this and he decided to make the fried potatoes SUPER THIN so that they could not be eaten by a fork! The customer was so happy with them that he ordered one more serrving! George Crum had made the first potato chips!



Inventor: George Nissen

At 16, George Nissen saw the trapeze artists performing their stunts at a travelling circus and got the idea to make something for them to bounce on and do even more amazing stunts.

He made the first trampoline in his parents garage by strapping a canvas sheet to a rectangular steel frame. Later he put more bounce into it by connecting the canvas to the frame using coil springs.


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Inventor: John Kellogg and Will Kellogg 

When Kellogg was making bead one day, he accidentally left the boiled wheat outside for too long. It became hard and broke into flakes when he tried to roll it into dough. Without throwing it away he decided to bake it and see what happens. The result- a crunchy snack!

Then the tried the same thing with corn and invented the cornflakes!



Ad for a T-shirt


Inventor:  The Copper Underwear Company

Before T-shirts were invented, men used to wear only button down shirts. Buttons often fell off and had to stitched back on. The copper underwear company started selling an undershirt with a “neckband that stretches”! It was easy to put on and take off and no buttons that come off !


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Chewing gum

Inventor: Thomas Adams

Adams was experimenting with the sap from a tree called Chicle. He wanted to use this sap to make a substitute for rubber. But when he observed the locals often chewed the gum of this tree, he realized it has more potential as a chewing gum than as rubber! He added flavor to the chicle and produced chewing gum!


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Blue Jeans

Inventor: Levi Strauss and  Jacob Davis

Miners needed pants that were made of durable material. Their pants would often tear near the pockets where they would carry their tools. A tailor named Jacob Davis solved their problem by making sturdy and durable pants from denim that he bought from Levi Strauss & Co. He made the pants even stronger by placing copper rivets at the pockets.



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Inventor: McVicker family

Play doh was initially a cleaning product!

When coal was used to heat homes, it used to make the walls dirty and sooty. A dough was used to clean soot from the walls. Soon people stopped using coal and demand for the dough reduced. Joseph McVicker’s sister who was a schoolteacher started using this dough in her classes as modeling dough for the children.  The McVicker family realized the potential of this product and started marketing it as a children’s toy!


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Picture Credit

Ear muffs

Inventor:Chester Greenwood

15 year old Chester Greenwood’s ears were too cold while ice skating and he asked his grandmother to sew little pieces of fur onto the circular ends of a wire ring that he could wrap around his head. At first his friends made fun of him but soon everyone was wearing them! He built a factory in his hometown and employed and helped many locals!



Image result for first popsicle


Inventor: Frank Epperson

11 year old Frank Epperson was making a juice, by mixing fruit flavored powder and water. He left his drink outside overnight with the stirring stick still in the glass. By the next morning the juice had frozen! After 17 years Epperson started selling these frozen drinks and people LOVED it! Initially he named them Eppscicles but his children didn’t like the name and named them Popsicles.



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Ballpoint pen

Inventor: László Bíró

Before the invention of the ballpoint pens, fountain pens were used. The ink from the fountain pens would not dry fast enough and smudge the paper.

László Bíró noticed that the ink used in newspaper printing presses dried quickly and didn’t smudge. He worked with his brother and made a new type of pen that used the newspaper ink with a ball-socket mechanism pen. A ball was placed in a socket at the tip of the pen but it could rotate freely, it would collect ink from the reservoir and leave it as a mark on the surface of the paper.



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