10 reasons the U.S. should thank New Jersey this Thanksgiving
New Jersey has given a lot to America. We were one of the founding colonies. We were first to ratify the Bill of Rights. We have offered some of the best entertainment to the country with Jon Bon Jovi, Jack Nicholson, Whitney Houston, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen (who just won the Presidential Medal of Freedom), and so many more. But here are even more reasons the United States should be saying thank you to the Garden State this Thanksgiving.
1) Safe drinking water
It was Charles Frederick Wallace, an engineer living in Belleville, who came up with the pump system that put small bits of chlorine gas into local water supplies to kill bacteria and other pathogens.
2) Control of our own climate
Willis Haviland Carrier was the inventor of modern day air conditioning. In 1915 he founded a company in Newark and in 1921 patented the centrifugal chiller which was the first system to cool large spaces in an efficient way. It took years to catch on in a big, but can you imagine living without it now?
3) Anti-theft tags
You know those little white plastic tags they put on merchandise? Variations of the system are also found in library books, operating rooms, and in hospitals protecting newborns from abduction, and it was the work of Dr. Philip Anderson of Ramapo College in the 1980's.
4) The transistor
John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley were not trying to change the world. But it's exactly what they did. Working for Bell Labs in Murray Hill they were put in charge of finding a way to replace vacuum tubes for telephone technology. In the 1940's they came up with this little triangular gizmo that conducted current, switched it on and off, and worked as both a resistor and a transmitter. Transmitter + resistor = transistor. It paved the way for the miniaturization of circuity that brought about the Information Age and most modern technology.
5) Electric light
Thomas Edison's obsession with coming up with a viable light bulb paid off for the entire world and started right here in New Jersey.
6) Eating in front of the TV
Well, the TV dinner anyway. It was dreamed up in 1944 by a dude named William L. Maxson in West Orange. Those frozen dinners were first found on airplanes but soon were gracing every living room in America.
7) College football
You're going to be enjoying lots of football on Thanksgiving, right? Intercollegiate football first happened here in New Jersey in 1869 between Princeton and Rutgers. And in case you still haven't checked the score, Rutgers won 6-4.
8) Bubble wrap
What eventually became bubblewrap, which you'll be seeing plenty of inside boxes from Amazon this holiday shopping season, started as a creation in a garage in Hawthorne, NJ. Inventors Marc Chavannes and Alfred Fielding first thought of it as a textured wallpaper. When that didn't catch on, they tried marketing it as a greenhouse insulation. Nothing. Eventually IBM used it as a protective wrap for computer shipping and the rest is history.
You got it Hollywood, you can thank the Dirty Jerz. In 1892 William Dickson and Thomas Edison teamed up to create the first video recording system.
That's right, music world. You have Jersey to thank. It was Thomas Edison, once again, in 1877 that came up with the first device that could both record sound and play it back. Where would Kanye West be without him? (Probably still in a psych ward actually.)
You're welcome, America!