Before the TV show, there was the 1939-40 World’s Fair exhibit in New York. The future was revealed to be very car-centric, which wasn’t all that surprising given that one of the sponsors of the exhibit was General Motors.
The phrase proved popular and all kinds of products and showcases used the term in the decades following this ground-breaking exhibit designed by Norman Bel Geddes. It was even the name and theme of another space-age exhibit at the 1964-1965 World’s Fair!
4) Ice Cream
Almanzo urged Laura to collect hail for making ice cream in the These Happy Golden Years, proving that you didn’t need refrigeration to make ice cream. But, ice cream actually has been around since ancient times, with Emperor Nero reportedly ordering snow to be brought down from the mountains to be mixed with fruit and syrup.
3) Carbonated Beverages
Fizzy drinks date back to the 1770s when Joseph Priestly invented an apparatus for carbonating liquids. Thomas Henry then put the new invention into practice, storing the drink in barrels. But, it was Jacob Schweppe who got the idea to bottle this artificial mineral water in the 1790s and ran with it, creating the highly lucrative soft drink industry we have today.
You’d think that parachutes would have been invented after airplanes, but no. The first design belonged to Leonardo Da Vinci, but was one of his many fanciful inventions that the world was not yet ready for. It was in 1797 that the first parachute was successfully tested by a André-Jacques Garnerin in France. Intended for use with hot air balloons, it would only be during World War II that parachutes would be commonly used in airplanes.
1) Contact Lenses
Proposed by various doctors and inventors as early as 1800, it wasn’t until 1888 that the first contact lenses were produced to spec for patients by Adolf Eugen Fick and were made of glass. Needless to say, they were very uncomfortable. However the idea was revived again in the 1910s and some folks did wear glass contact lenses in the 20th century! They often came in a velvet-lined carrying case and came with a special tool to help mount them into your eyes, too.
It’s amazing how many facts either don’t make the history books at all or become faded into the background. If you love learning about historic inventions then click here to read about some of the inventions that changed the world forever.