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August: A month of inventions

Moseyin’ Along

August 22, 2013
Joyce Schenk , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

August, the unofficial end -of-summer month, was left out when the calendar-makers were putting together their list of special dates. This 31-day month had no Memorial Day to invite parades, no Independence Day to bring on the fireworks and no Labor Day to extend week-end getaways.

August just sits here in limbo, not quite sure how it fits into the scheme of American life.

But, if you read the listing of accomplishments that took place during this late-summer period, you'll realize August stands out as a time when many of today's favorite items were developed or patented.

For instance, at breakfast you can celebrate the fact that Shredded Wheat was patented on August 1, 1893....and bananas everywhere became endangered.

It was on August 2, 1858, that the first mail box was erected. In the days before you remember that long-ago period....... most of us maintained written contact with the world out there through mail.

On August 5, the first of those important intersection signals, the traffic light, came on the scene. The initial light was installed in Cleveland. Anyone who has ever driven in Cleveland understands why the first traffic signals were placed there.

A fun invention, the revolving door, was patented on August 7, 1888. I guess every kid remembers his or her first trip through a revolving door and how challenging it was to pick just the right time to pop out of the thing.

Next in line for August-dated breakthroughs was that wonderful housewife savior, the contained washing machine, patented on August 9, 1910. From then on, washboards began appearing in antique shops, much to the relief of all laundry ladies.

On August 12, 1851, Singer was granted a patent for his sewing machine. The pay telephone gained patent status on August 13, 1889. And that beloved addition to window treatments, the Venetian Blind, was patented on August 21, 1841.

I was surprised to learn that liquid soap came on the scene on August 22, 1865. I thought this nifty item was a much more recent addition to life. I wouldn't be without it in my house.

The waffle iron, once a mainstay in many kitchens, was patented on August 24, 1869. Now most folks take their waffles from the freezer and pop them in the toaster....a faster method that involves no after-waffle clean-up.

It's obvious by this list that even though little old August was ignored by those who schedule special days, over the years it has been a time that inspired creativity.

So in honor of the month the holiday-makers forgot, join me in celebrating with a bowl of Shredded Wheat, complete with bananas, of course.



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