North Carolina is, and has always been, home to a great many creative minds. It’s quite an array of inventions, products, and ideas that originated from the minds of many North Carolinians over the years. Let’s do some bragging about our ‘inventive’ state and what’s been contributed to the world…
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts: Yum! We have Vernon Rudolph to thank for this tasty treat. In 1937, he bought the recipe from a French chef. Although his original plan was to market them only to grocery stores, their popularity led him to sell directly from his bakery. Winston-Salem is home to the first Krispy Kreme bakery. Today, we love it when the ‘Hot Now’ sign lights up on the storefront ‘cause that’s when they’re the best!
Pepsi: Yep, wash that doughnut down with a cold Pepsi. New Bern is where Caleb Bradham invented ‘the Brad drink’ in 1893 at his drugstore. In 1898, the name of the drink became Pepsi and has been one of the top sodas ever since.
La Bleu: Who knew bottled water would be so prevalent and popular? In 1990, Jerry S. Smith developed a patent-pending purification process for water. La Bleu, based in Advance, has been quenching thirsts ever since.
Goody’s Headache Powder: Winston-Salem is home to Goody’s, invented by a pharmacist, Martin Goodman, in 1932. Taking care of headaches ever since, Goody’s is sold nationwide. NASCAR legend Richard Petty has long been the product’s spokesperson.
Mt. Olive Pickles: Shickrey Baddour began the largest independent pickle company in the US in the 1920s. Now a national brand, the business originated in Mt. Olive, NC. The company vats can store up to 40 million cucumbers at a time.
Universal Bar Code: Invented by George Lauer in conjunction with IBM in 1969, the universal bar code was implemented in 1972 and changed the checkout process.
Cheerwine: North Carolinians love their soft drinks! L. D. Peeler bought a bankrupt syrup company in Kentucky, moved the operation to Salisbury, NC and continued to make Mint Cola, a beverage from the Kentucky business. He was looking for something special and bought some flavors from a traveling salesman. He developed Cheerwine in 1917 while experimenting with flavors in his basement. The business remains in Peeler’s family to this day and is the oldest family-owned soft drink company.
Vicks VapoRub: Selma, North Carolina is the home place of Vicks, originally called Vicks Croup & Pneumonia Salve. Lunsford Richardson invented it in 1890. At one time there were 21 different remedies. Lunsford sold the family drug store to start Lunsford Richardson Wholesale Drug Company. Eventually, his son focused on one product – Vicks VapoRub. That distinctive smell is a memory of many childhoods.
Texas Pete: New York City?! Nope, try North Carolina. That’s the home of Texas Pete, manufactured by Garner Food Company, in Winston-Salem. Texas Pete is the #3 hot sauce in the US.
Putt-Putt: Moving away from beverages and food, a favorite activity for families was started in 1954 by Don Clayton in Fayetteville. Many a putt-putt ball has passed through the windmill since that time.
Gatling Gun: In 1861, the first successful machine gun was invented by Richard Gatling, a physician from Hertford County. It was used in the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Ironically, Gatling hoped that his invention would help diminish wars.
Funny, with all the soft drinks developed in North Carolina, milk is the state’s official drink. So, let’s raise a big glass of milk to the inventive minds of North Carolina – past, present, and future!