Great inventions, except pantyhose

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 30, 2008

I have often thought about the people who invented the different products that I use every day.

One invention I could have done without is pantyhose. Recently, I was talking to my friends, Meredith, Becca and Granny, and we all agreed we would have been just fine if pantyhose had never been invented.

I have always hated the dreaded undergarment. For one thing, I can wear a pair one time and then the next time I go to put them on, they will have runs all in them. Of course, I can’t wear them if they have runs because someone always points out that fact.

Then what do I have to do? I have to look for another pair of hose. Normally this mad dash of trying to find a pair of hose in the right shade with no runs in them happens right before I have to be at church or wherever I am going at the time.

I can blame the pantyhose for making me late.

My friends and I had no idea who invented pantyhose, but we all agreed that it was probably a man. No self respecting woman would invent a torture device such as this.

Sure enough, in my research, I found that a man did invent pantyhose. In 1959, Allen Gant of North Carolina invented the undergarment. One of Gant’s family members, John Gant, was the founder of Glen Raven Mills textile mill, which first manufactured panty hose.

An invention that I actually like is the post-it note. They are so useful and handy to keep around.

When I need to jot down a quick note, I can use a post- it. They also come in a rainbow of colors.

In the early 1970s, Art Fry invented the post- it by taking a piece of paper and coupling it with an adhesive his colleague, Spencer Silver, created. Fry was looking for a way to mark his place in a church hymnal and the idea for the post- it was born.

Today the name “Post- it” and the original yellow color are owned by the 3M Company.

Another one of my favorite inventions, the paperclip, can also be found in the office supply aisle.

I always have a container of colored paperclips on my desk because I think they are wonderful.

Johan Vaaler, a Norwegian inventor, first crafted the paperclip in 1889. Ten years later, he patented his design in Germany and in 1901 he received an American patent. His design was either in a triangular or square shape.

In 1899, William Middlebrook of Waterbury, Connecticut patented the paperclip we use today, which is in a double oval shape.

I love blue jeans; I wear them all the time. I guess you could call them my “uniform.” I am definitely a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl.

Levi Strauss invented and marketed blue jeans. Strauss was a tailor from Germany who went to San Francisco in 1853 during the gold rush.

In 1873, Strauss and a tailor from Nevada, Jacob Davis, patented the idea of using copper rivets on the stress points of work pants. These early Levis were made of brown canvas duck fabric and heavy blue denim. Eventually, they stopped using the brown canvas fabric and just used denim.

In 1963, the company started attaching a red tab to the left rear pocket of the pants so people could identify them as Levi’s from a distance.

One of my favorite inventions happens to be a board game. Alfred Mosher Butts created Scrabble in 1948; the game was originally called Lexiko.

James Brunot, of Newtown, Connecticut, bought the rights to manufacture Scrabble. Butts was granted a royalty for every game Brunot sold.

When he bought the idea for the game, Brunot rearranged the squares on the game board and made the rules easier to understand.

I have always loved this game; when I was little, my mom, dad and mama would let me sit at the table and play with the tiles while they were playing a game. As I grew up and was able to spell on my own, I fell in love with the game.

What invention column would be complete without discussing awesome inventions in the food industry?

In 1930, Ruth Wakefield invented chocolate chips and chocolate chip cookies. She ran the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts.

I believe there is nothing better than a warm chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven and a cup of cold milk.

Fellow readers, I hope you have enjoyed learning about these various inventions as much as I have.

The next time you enjoy a modern convenience, such as the paperclip, remember the people who put in long hours, time and effort to invent objects that would make life easier for future generations.

Except the man who invented pantyhose. He was crazy.