NY Edition

New York’s tech startup ecosystem may be new, but great inventions are not

George Eastman's patent application

Maker’s Marks

If tech is now one of the core drivers in New York’s jobs resurgence, then it’s safe to say people can stop calling it an “up-and-coming startup ecosystem”.

The question we ask, is: why the hell were they calling it that in the first place?

We know New York lagged behind other cities in hoodies per square block for a while, but there has never been a shortage of technological breakthroughs.

Here’s a look at seven of the greatest tech inventions ever to come out of NYC.


In 1902, Brooklyn’s Willis Carrier invented a cooling machine that blows air over cold coils, later dubbed an air conditioner. Yes, we know it’s sick to talk about air conditioning with this much snow on the ground. But you’ll want to hug this man come July.

By George

Those Kodak Moments would not be Kodak Moments at all if George Eastman hadn’t invented roll film in 1884, and shortly after, the push button camera dubbed Kodak – an early slogan for which was “You push the button, we do the rest”.

Bare Necessities

New Yorker Joseph Gayetty invented modern commercially available toilet paper in 1857, which was dubbed “the greatest necessity of the age”. Which leads us to ask – what could’ve been more necessary in prior ages? (And yes, we consider this technology.)

Crystal Clear

In 1964, George H. Heilmeier began experimenting on the job at RCA Laboratories creating electronic images with tiny liquid crystals between thin glass layers. Thus, the liquid-crystal display, or LCD, was born.

Snacks and the City

Peter Cooper may have designed and built America’s first steam locomotive, and yes, he also ran for President, but his greatest life achievement is unquestionably having invented the formula for powdered gelatin – or as we know it now, Jell-O.

Bridge & Tunnel

Sure, Thomas Edison invented the motion picture camera, along with the phonograph, carbon telephone transmitter, automatic telegraph system, and much more while actually living in New Jersey, but hey – that’s close enough.

Key Discovery

If you’ve been reading us for a while, you’ll know that we’re fascinated with any tech that addresses the problem of lost keys (like this). So too, apparently was the appropriately named Joseph Loch, who invented the combination lock, originally for Tiffany’s, in 1878.

We were kind of hoping this wasn’t true, but it is: even the hoodie was invented here (by Champion).

Now go forth (and enjoy your #TBT).


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