Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

North Carolina's Greatest Inventions

Posted September 6, 2006

The NC Museum of History has an interesting program today for children. "Made in the Old North State" is a study of famous North Carolina inventions. The museum gave two examples: Vick’s Vaporub and Pepsi. I tried to think of a few more. Cheerwine was born in the basement of L.D. Peeler’s basement in Salisbury close to 100 years ago. I once interviewed his granddaughter Nancy in Raleigh. Nice lady. The first machine gun was produced by Richard Gatling of Hertford County. Texas Pete was invented by the Garner family in Winston-Salem. Krispy Kreme doughnuts also have roots in the Twin City. Putt Putt or minature golf got its start in Fayetteville. The UPC or bar code was born in Research Triangle Park. The heat pump also came from the Tar Heel womb of ingenuity. Valonda Calloway says the control-alt-delete function on your computer was the work of an IBMer in RTP. And a little more on Pepsi. It was originally called Brad’s Drink. It was the sugary concoction of New Bern pharmacist Caleb Bradham. Vicks Vaporub was born in 1894 by Greensboro inventor Lunsford Richardson. What other Tar Heel inventions can you think of? Of course, flight got its start at Kitty Hawk. But what else?

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Bill Leslie