Inventions

  • The pacemaker was invented in 1957 by Medtronic founder Earl Bakken in his garage. It became the first self-contained, transistorized device that could be taped to a patient’s chest and needed no cords.
  • The “Black Box” – the flight recorder found in every commercial airliner today – was developed by Minnesota based General Mills in conjunction with the University of Minnesota in 1953.
  • The oxygen mask was invented by three Mayo Clinic physicians in 1935 for Northwest Airlines.
  • Wet/Dry Sandpaper, Masking tape and Scotch tape were created by Minnesota based 3M.
  • Wheaties cereal, Bisquick, HMOs, the bundt pan, Aveda beauty products, and Green Giant vegetables.
  • The stapler was invented in Spring Valley, MN (under review – reported on in the Spring Valley Tribune).
  • The first practical water skis were invented in 1922 by Ralph W. Samuelson, who steam-bent 2 eight-foot-long pine boards into skies. He took his first ride behind a motorboat on a lake in Lake City.
  • The first Automatic Pop-up toaster was marketed in June 1926 by McGraw Electric Co. in Minneapolis under the name Toastmaster. The retail price was $13.50.
  • Rollerblades were the first commercially successful in-line Roller Skates. Minnesota students Scott and Brennan Olson invented them in 1980, when they were looking for a way to practice Hockey during the off-season. Their design was an ice hockey boot with 3 inline wheels instead of a blade.
  • Tonka Trucks were invented and developed in Minnetonka (hence the name “Tonka”). They continue to be manufactured there.
  • Polaris Industries of Roseau manufactured the first practical snowmobile in 1956.
  • The first snowblower designed for home use, was created by Bloomington, MN based Toro in 1951.
  • The automatic retractable seat belt (for automobiles) was first patented in 1963 by University of Minnesota Professor James J. Ryan.
  • Zubaz, the loud, loose trousers made specifically for bodybuilders, were invented by Minneapolis gym owners
    Dan Stock and Bob Truax in 1991.

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