Baltimore Firsts

Fussell ice cream driver

One of Baltimore’s many nicknames is “City of Firsts”….These “firsts” are testament to the innovations that Baltimoreans have developed throughout the city’s history. Numerous advances and innovations in industry, transportation, science, and education have been pioneered in Baltimore. source

1772 The first umbrella in America arrives in Baltimore from India.

1783 The world’s first dredger, the Baltimore Mud Machine, invented by Andrew and John Ellicot.

1784 The Methodist Church in America was established on December 27 at Baltimore Town’s Lovely Lane meetinghouse.

1797 Constellation launched, the U.S. Navy’s first warship.

1800 First water utility company in the U.S. established.

1803 First electric refrigerator invented by Thomas Moore.

1804 Lucas Brothers opens the first stationer in the western hemisphere.

1816 Gas Light Company of Baltimore established as America’s first gas utility company.

1821 First Roman Catholic cathedral in the U.S.

1828 Baltimore & Ohio becomes the birthplace of American railroads.

1828 America’s first umbrella factory opens in Baltimore.

1843 To demonstrate his telegraph, Samuel F.B. Morse installs America’s first utility poles along the B&O right-of-way between Baltimore and the District of Columbia.

1844 Morse sends the first telegraph message  — “What hath God wrought?” — from the Capitol to Mt. Clare Station in Baltimore.

1848 First ice cream freezer was patented by W. G. Young.

1850 Jacob Fussell opens the first ice cream factory in the U.S.

1850s Thomas Kensett develops method for canning can fruits and vegetables, which became a major Baltimore industry.

1886 Ottmar Mergenthaler introduces the Linotype machine.

1889 Rubber gloves first used during surgery, by William Halsted’s nurse (and wife) at Johns Hopkins.

1891 Captain Isaac E. Emerson markets the first commercial stomach antacid seltzer, Bromo-Seltzer.

1892 Ouija board invented and patented by Isaac and William Fuld.

1892 Crown cork bottle cap (and bottle opener) invented by William Painter.

1907 America’s first shopping center, in Roland Park.

1907 Baltimore magazine becomes America’s first city magazine.

1916 First portable electric drill with pistol grip developed by Black & Decker.

1916 First municipal orchestra in the U.S.

1929 First pedestrian-actuated traffic installed by inventor Charles Adler, Jr.

1932 Eastern Venetian Blind Company becomes first producer of venetian blinds in the U.S.

1953 Developed by Nancy and Burt Claster, Romper Room becomes one of the earliest regular television programming created for young children.

1995 The Baltimore Stallions become the first American team to win a championship in the Canadian Football League.

Reed Hellman contributed to this post.