You already know about cars and cereal, but did you realize these five items also came from the Great Lakes State?
1. Kitty Litter- Ed Lowe worked for his father’s industrial absorbents company in the Cassopolis area. Upon helping a neighbor in 1947, he discovered the benefits of using clay in litter boxes as opposed to messy sand and ash. Lowe began to brand his new mixture as “Kitty Litter” thus creating a billion-dollar industry.
2. Baby Food- Did babies even eat before Daniel Frank Geber invented baby food?! After his baby daughter became ill, Gerber used his fathers Fremont-based factory, the Fremont Canning Company, to mass produce baby food- a novel concept in 1927.
3. Snowboarding- Originally called the “Snurfer”, Muskegon-based engineer Sherman Poppen invented the snowboard on Christmas Day of 1965 when he fastened two of his daughter’s skis together. As it gained in popularity the term was changed to “snowboard”, with Poppen being inducted into the U.S. Ski-Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2019.
4. Road Lines- Recognized as one of the “Most important single traffic safety devices in the history of highway transportation” by MDOT, Edward Hines developed the concept of road lines in 1911 when the first road was painted in Trenton, MI. By the following decade, all major roads in Wayne County had centerlines- something that is considered standard nowadays! Hines reportedly came up with the concept after witnessing a near-miss accident between a horse and buggy and a vehicle.
5. Computer Gaming- I don’t even want to know how many hours of my life I wasted in front of the computer as a tween playing The Sims, SimCity, and Railroad Tycoon. I’m sure I’m not alone! Often referred to as the “Father of Computer Gaming” Canadian-born Sid Meier moved to Michigan as a child and went on to earn a degree in computer science from the University of Michigan. Where did Sid come up with the ideas for some of the most successful gaming franchises in history? In Michigan, of course!
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