Great Inventions from Alabama

One of the founders of the Free Encyclopedia was an Alabama man. Born in Huntsville, Alabama, Jimmy Wales was educated at Auburn University and the University of Alabama before moving on to bigger things.

In 2000 Wales teamed up with Larry Sanger and together they launched the world’s largest online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

The true story of the invention of windshield wipers is a prime example of how brilliant women are not taken seriously. Mary Anderson came to New York from her home in Alabama and rode a cart. She noticed that the sleet had so impaired the driver’s vision that he was driving with the front windows open. An innovative Alabama woman returned home, hired a designer, and the windshield wiper was born. However, when Anderson tried to pitch his invention to a firm in Canada, she was told it was a frivolous idea. Her patent eventually expired and someone else picked up the windshield wiper. Say no more.

Although he did not invent the actual record or vinyl, in 1926 Waldo Semon, an Alabama man, invented a process to plasticize vinyl so that it could be made into a record. Semon, a man from Demopolis, Alabama, invented more innovative gadgets and was inducted into the Invention Hall of Fame.

Auburn University graduate, George F. Kirchoff, was a member of the group that invented the airbag safety feature.

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