Hybrid Corn

Genetic modification by people have produced virtually all plants and animals in the western world. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, and brussels sprouts are all derived from a wild mustard plant in Europe. None of these vegetables exist but-for early genetic engineering. Similarly, all dogs, cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens are modern man-made creations. Scientists […]

Milking Machine

Milking machine safely and effectively milk cows. They vastly reduce the cost of milking a cow. Background Nobody likes milking cows by hand. It’s time consuming, laborious, and they poop. Early attempts at something better involved inserting catheters that would let the milk slide out. However, if not used perfectly these hurt the animal. Catheters […]

Automatic Tomato Harvester

Grain and corn harvesters date back to the 1800s. However, grain and corn are relatively easy to harvest. Grain harvesting involves little more than cutting tall grass whereas ears of corn are large, strong, and similarly shaped. Tomatoes Interestingly, tomatoes were not common food until the 1800s. Early colonialists brought the tomato plant to Europe […]

Modern Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s)

People have been genetically modifying plants and animals for eternity. Virtually every plant we eat is the result of genetic modification via selective breeding. Tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and countless others only exist due to genetic modifications. Furthermore, cows, pigs, chickens and arguably even all modern breeds of dogs are the result of genetic modification. […]

High-Yield Rice (IR8)

Asia was on the edge of an epic famine large enough to cause widespread death and civil unrest. Both the Ford and Rockefeller Foundation responded by founding and funding a thinktank to create higher-yield rice, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Straightaway, they sent a team of mainly American scientists to research if anything could […]

Fast Food

McDonald’s primary innovation is that food should be ready instantly. No sooner does a customer order than food appears. Individual restaurant orders, individually prepared was the norm for non-buffet restaurants before McDonald’s. In 1937, the McDonald brothers created their iconic restaurant and built several stores. Eventually, Ray Kroc was a 52-year-old milkshake machine salesman who […]

Microwave Oven

Percy Spencer is a self-taught engineer who did not finish even primary school. He self-taught himself math, science, and electrical engineering while standing guard on ships in the Navy. Before, during, and after WWII, Spencer worked on top-secret magnetrons, the high-powered electrical devices at the heart of a RADAR system. One day he noticed that […]

Refrigerated Trucks

1939 Frederick Jones Refrigerated trucks, invented by Frederick Jones, enable modern commerce. Jones is somewhat of an innowiki aberration in that he 1) invented something useful with enormous impact, 2) successfully commercialized it, 3) managed to keep the business and build it out, and 4) was a minority. We’d like to have a long list […]

Frozen Food

Father of frozen food Clarence “Bob” “Bugs” Birdseye was first and foremost a naturalist. Birdseye collected countless insects, opened a taxidermy service in his teens, and worked at the United States Agriculture Department through his early years. While working with the Inuit in Canada he learned that fish in -40C weather would almost instantly freeze […]