Baltimore Firsts

By Reed Hellman and Bruce Goldfarb


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

The first umbrella in America arrived in Baltimore from India in 1772. In 1828, the first American umbrella factory opened in Baltimore.

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

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

The first electric refrigerator was invented by Thomas Moore in Baltimore in 1803.

The oldest stationer in the Western Hemisphere, Lucas Brothers, began in Baltimore in 1804.

Baltimore is the birthplace of American railroads (1828). To prove its practicality, America’s first steam locomotive, the Tom Thumb, raced a horse drawn carriage out to Ellicott’s Mills, and lost the race.

Samuel F.B. Morse sent the first telegraph message, “What hath God wrought?” from Washington DC along the B&O Right-of-way to Baltimore’s Mt. Clare Station in 1844.

The first ice cream freezer was patented by W. G. Young in 1848.

Baltimore’s Thomas Kensett is credited with perfecting the technique of canning fruits and vegetables in the 1850’s. Canning became a major Baltimore industry.

Ottmar Mergenthaler introduced his Linotype machine in 1886.

First commercial stomach antacid seltzer, Bromo-Seltzer, was made by Captain Isaac E. Emerson in 1891.

The Ouija board was invented and patented by Isaac and William Fuld in 1892.

First portable electric drill with pistol grip was developed at Black & Decker in 1916.

First producer of venetian blinds in the United States was the Eastern Venetian Blind Company, 1932.

Baltimore is the home of Noxzema skin care cream, originally called “Dr. Bunting’s Sunburn Remedy.”

Baltimore’s Public Works Museum is the first US museum dedicated to the history of municipal services.

The Battle Monument is 52 feet high and is dedicated to those who lost their lives defending the city…the first monument in the US to honor the soldiers instead of the generals.

First American city to win a championship in the Canadian Football League, the Baltimore CFL’s or “Stallions” (1995).

 

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