From popular soda flavors to revolutionary microchips, Texas inventors have made contributions to almost every area of modern-day society. Find out more about the great minds who have called the Lone Star State home.
In the 1880s, a young Waco pharmacist named Charles Alderton started mixing fruit syrup flavors at the local soda fountain, looking for the perfect mix. Soon enough, he created a concoction that had everyone talking. Beverage chemist Robert S. Lazenby was impressed by the new drink and suggested that Alderton introduce his invention to a larger audience. Alderton was primarily interested in his pharmacy career and allowed his employer, a drug store owner, to develop the drink with Lazenby. Dr Pepper was introduced at the 1904 World’s Fair Exposition and is the world’s oldest major soft drink today. Want to learn more about the history of this tasty beverage? Check out the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco where exhibits, a soda fountain and a gift shop will delight visitors of all ages. Group tours are also available. For more information, visit www.drpeppermuseum.com.
When Jack Kilby was hired at Dallas’ Texas Instruments in 1958, many of his new co-workers were on vacation. Left with little to do, Kilby started developing a monolithic integrated circuit – a “chip” – that would eventually help establish a technical foundation for modern microelectronics. Ten years later, Kilby created the handheld calculator to make use of his microchip. In 2000, with more than 60 patents to his name, Kilby received the Nobel Prize in Physics. Curious about other innovators at Texas Instruments? Go to www.ti.com.
When Dallas native Bette Nesmith Graham (née McMurray) divorced her husband after World War II, she realized she would need to work in order to support her children. Nesmith got a job as a secretary and by 1951 was working for the chairman of the board at Texas Bank & Trust. Electric typewriters were becoming very popular at the time, but Nesmith found it problematic that typing mistakes couldn’t be easily fixed. The secretary used her kitchen blender to mix tempera water-based paint and tinted it to match her company stationery. Whenever she made a mistake, she would just paint over it with a watercolor brush. Soon, Nesmith was bottling her solution and giving it to friends labeled as “Mistake Out.” She then obtained a patent and renamed the product “Liquid Paper.” The company took off and Nesmith opened a large headquarters in Dallas, offering a library and childcare center for her employees. Learn more about this incredible inventor at www.liquidpaper.com/about_us.html.
Many products that we use every single day were invented in Texas. Spend an afternoon or an entire weekend learning about something that was created by one of the state’s imaginative innovators.