Chicago. Innovation City.
10 Things Invented in Chicago. The City of Innovation.
When you think of the greatest cities in the world, where innovation was a part of the fabric of the streets themselves, do you remember to include Chicago? Sure, New York, Boston, London, Paris, Milan and other cities are on that list, but if you know the history of Chicago, you’ll find out pretty quickly why much of what you know about modern life was born right here. It’s just one of many reasons DLX felt this was the perfect city to bring something new to office chairs. So, let’s look at a few Chicago icons and innovations.
10 Examples of Chicago Innovation and Invention
Here are ten things you know from everyday life that you may not realize were invented in Chicago.
· Ferris wheel. A man named George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. wanted to design something that would rival the Eiffel Tower in Paris for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The original was over 200 feet tall and had large, subway-style cars that could fit many people at once. It was the tallest attraction at the fair.
· Car radios. Although the concept of car radios was first introduced all the way back in 1904, and some manufacturers had installed a car radio in Australia, a man named Paul Galvin invented the first practical car radio. Galvin and his brother started an electronics company called Galvin Manufacturing Corporation, but he introduced the first practical car radio with the brand Motorola in 1930. They were expensive at the time, but launched what we now know as the modern car radio—invented right here in Chicago’s suburbs.
· Cell phones. Motorola became an enormous company and innovated many ideas over the years. In 1973, a man named Dr. Martin Cooper, working for Motorola, created the first prototype for what we know today as a cell phone. Of course, the phone was quite large by today’s standards and sometimes referred to as a “brick phone,” but soon launched an industry that would come to dominate everyone’s life.
· Skyscrapers. William LeBaron Jenney, in 1883, was tasked with designing a tall, fireproof building for the Home Insurance Company. What he created ended up being the very first skyscraper. The building was initially 10 stories tall and 183 feet high. During construction, it was so tall, city officials stopped construction to make sure it wouldn’t fall. Two more floors were eventually added, bringing the height to 183 feet. Other cities, including Chicago, would make taller buildings, but Chicago was the first.
· The “L.” What is known today as the Chicago “L” first began running in 1892, making it the first elevated train system in the country. It was originally a steam locomotive and only transported a handful of people a short distance. However, it soon proved to be so popular and convenient, the route was expanded, and parts of that original route are still in operation today.
· Animated cartoons. Ten years before a man named Walt Disney would introduce a mouse character originally called Steamboat Willy to the world, the first animated films were created in
Chicago. Winsor McCay created a character called Gertie the Dinosaur who debuted in movie houses in 1914. McCay released other animated films including a very realistic-looking one about the sinking of the Lusitania, which happened during World War I. His partner, Wallace Carson, would go on to create a recurring animated character called Dreamy Dud.
· Soap operas. Daytime soap operas were started right here in Chicago. Created by a woman named Ima Phillips in 1930, the first actual soap opera was called Painted Dreams and broadcast on Chicago’s WGN radio. Phillips would continue to create soap operas for radio, but then move to television and create soaps such as Guiding Light, which ran for 72 years.
· Blood banks. Dr. Bernard Fantus, working for what they then called Cook County Hospital, was the first to realize that the advent of blood transfusions meant that storing blood to use on patients who needed it was the next logical step. He built a lab that would store blood in such a way that kept it viable. He also coined the term “blood bank.”
· Yellow pencils. These would be the very same pencils you likely used as a child in school, and may still use today when you want to write something you might have to erase. They were introduced in Austria by Hardtmuth Company in 1889 and covered in thick coats of yellow lacquer because yellow symbolizes royalty in some cultures. Manufacturer Koh-I-Nor brought these pencils to the Chicago World’s Fair, bragging of the finest graphite from the Far East, and made quite a splash. They were an American staple soon after.
· The zipper. Another amazing “futuristic” invention was showcased during the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The first zipper shown there , called a “clasp locker,” was actually a complicated hook-and-eye fastener meant for shoes. Despite this, it dazzled the people who saw the invention shown off by Whitcomb Judson, from Chicago. Judson’s employee Gideon Sundback eventually refined the zipper into the configuration we know, love and rely on every day.
DLX Innovations: Changing the Executive Office Experience
It took nearly a decade for DLX to create a superior office chair. Because we wanted to put in the time and care to do it right, we wanted to do it in a city with a history of innovation. We knew Chicago was the right place for our chairs.
Some of our innovations include the materials used, the engineering, the system of custom-building chairs to each customer’s specifications, and the maximum-comfort control systems built into each chair. We set out to create an office chair unlike anything on the market, inspired by the Chicago icons and innovations listed above.
DLX believes the right office chair can help you be more productive and make an impression on those who see your office. Take a look at the chairs we offer, then reach out to us for a quote.