Iowa is home to some pretty cool inventors! Here are seven things you may not have known were invented by Iowans:

7 Things You May Not Have Known Were Invented by Iowans

Iowa is home to some pretty cool inventors! Here are seven things you may not have known were invented by Iowans!

Sliced Bread

Before 1928, if you wanted your bread sliced, you had to grab a knife and do it yourself. Thanks to a Davenport man named Otto Frederick Rohwedder, things are now much easier. Wikipedia reports that Otto first built a prototype for a single loaf bread-slicing machine back in 1912, but it was, unfortunately, destroyed in a fire. Otto finally had a working machine in 1928, and the very first one was sold to the Chillicothe Baking Company in Missouri. The rest is history!


You can thank an Iowan for all those recipes, wedding ideas, and outfits on Pinterest! The site was created by Des Moines-native Ben Silbermann, along with Paul Sciarra, and Evan Sharp. It was actually inspired by Ben's childhood love of collecting things. According to Wikipedia"the idea for Pinterest emerged from an earlier app created by Ben Silberman and Paul Sciarra called Tote, which served as a virtual replacement for paper catalogues." Once the two guys teamed up with Evan Sharp, Pinterest was officially born.

Red Delicious Apples

Although an Iowan didn't actually "invent" the Red Delicious Apple, they did discover it! According to an article in The Atlantic, a farmer in Peru, Iowa named Jesse Hiatt first came across the "mutant seedling" in the 1870s. He kept trying to chop the tree down, but it kept coming back, so he finally just let it grow. The article reports that, "in 1893, when Stark Brothers’ Nursery of Louisiana, Missouri, held a contest to find a replacement for the Ben Davis—then the most widely planted apple in the country, strapping and good-looking but bland—Hiatt submitted his new variety, which he called the Hawkeye." It was first renamed 'Stark Delicious,' and then in 1914, 'Red Delicious.'


The concept of the trampoline has been around for a long time, but the modern trampoline was first created by George Nissen and Larry Griswold back in 1936. George and Larry were both gymnasts at the University of Iowa and used their invention to train tumblers. Wikipedia says that the duo went on to start the Griswold-Nissen Trampoline & Tumbling Company out of Cedar Rapids, and now kids all over the world have access to trampolines!

Gas Tractors

The best known Iowa invention would probably be the gas tractor. According to Wikipedia, John Froelich built the very first gasoline-powered tractor in Clayton County in 1892. He then started the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company, but it went out of business a short time later. Deere & Company went on to purchase the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company in 1918, which is better known today as John Deere!

Eskimo Pies

Known today as Edy's Pie, the Eskimo Pie was first patented in 1921 by Christian Kent Nelson of Onawa, Iowa. Wikipedia reports that Christian came up with idea "when a boy in his store was unable to decide whether to spend his money on ice cream or a chocolate bar." The first name for the Eskimo Pie was the I-Scream Bar, but after securing a deal with chocolate producer Russell C. Stover, it was changed. The treat gained popularity very quickly, with about a million sold each day in 1922! It's still a beloved snack today.

Electronic Digital Computers

Did you know that the first ever electronic digital computer was created in Iowa? According to an article from the Gazette, "the Atanasoff-Berry Computer, or the ABC, was built at Iowa State University (then called Iowa State College) from 1937 to 1942 by physics and mathematics professor John Vincent Atanasoff and physics graduate student Clifford Berry." There are actually some features of the computer that are still used today, and there is a complete replica of the original ABC in California's Computer History Museum.

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