The innovative minds of Oklahoma have helped influence the future with their inventions and discoveries. Take some time to appreciate the amazing things that came out of the Sooner State.
You can thank Sylvan Goldman for creating the original shopping cart so you don’t have to carry all your groceries by hand or in a small basket. Goldman, an Oklahoma City resident, was owner of the local Standard Food Markets and Humpty Dumpty Supermarkets. When he saw his customers struggling with their metal baskets, he decided to put the shopping cart on wheels; in 1937, the first shopping cart was created. You can put your creative instincts to work at the Science Museum Oklahoma. Visit the Tinkering Garage and engage in hands-on projects that stretch the imagination. You can also try teasing your brain with the Mind Games exhibit. Get those wheels turning at www.sciencemuseumok.org.
Karl Jansky was another brilliant mind from Oklahoma – he found that radio waves were coming from the Milky Way. His discovery was publicized in 1933, and today, Jansky even has a lunar crater named after him. You can spend time exploring the Milky Way and other outer space attractions at the Stafford Air and Space Museum in Weatherford. The town of Weatherford is the birthplace of flight pioneer and astronaut Lieutenant General Thomas P. Stafford. Explore an exhibit covering the history of rocketry, the world’s most comprehensive exhibit of its kind. You can even see real artifacts that actually flew in space from the Space Shuttle program and the Mir Space Station. Find out what other exciting exhibits are offered at www.staffordmuseum.com.
The name “Ed Malzahn” might not sound familiar, but he is credited with inventing a tool that would develop into a whole line of high-quality underground construction equipment. The Ditch Witch was invented in the 1940s in Perry when Ed saw the difficulty of digging trenches to install residential utility lines. Using his mechanical engineering background, he and his father created a compact trencher that significantly shortened the time and effort required to do the job. The Ditch Witch compact trencher has made Fortune magazine’s list of "the 100 best American-made products in the world" twice, and while the company is still based in Perry, an international center opened in Barcelona in 2001 to serve Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Today, you can take a tour of the Perry Ditch Witch manufacturing plant, which spans over 30 acres and employs more than 1,300 people. Get details about scheduling your factory tour at www.ditchwitch.com/about-us/factory-tours.
It’s never too late to learn something new. Inspire your imagination by exploring some of the great inventions that came out of Oklahoma.