North Platte’s first inventors and inventions
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Since 1870, there have been 200 patented inventions created by Lincoln County residents. Most of the inventions fall under agricultural or everyday-use items. The first patent was an improvement on water wells, and other inventions include things like seed breeding lines for corn and flowers.
“It is interesting to see the cultural influences for the patents,” said Jim Griffin, Curator Director at the Lincoln County Historical Museum. “You have these inventions come along with practical uses. You also have inventions on windmills and the railroads.”
John Wilson created traveling lawn sprinklers. Wilson was a custodian at North Platte High School who maintained the lawns and fields. Wilson also patented a model of toilet paper holders. Edward Orr invented a moving pivotal seat and a folding ironing board that had space for cleaning supplies.
The walking lawn sprinkler was invented in 1930. The folding ironing board and improved closed pin were invented around the 1950s. The most recent patent from North Platte is from February of 2022 for a night light.
“The first patented invention came about four years after North Platte was founded,” said Griffin. “Those early pioneers were not just surviving and thriving, but also finding time to invent items to improve their lives.”
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