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Famous Firsts of Worcester, Mass

For now, I'm limiting this to strictly Worcester and not the surrounding towns.

Casey at the Bat
Even though he's not well known for it, "Casey at the Bat" was originally written by Ernest Thayer.
Development of the First Pressurized Space Suits
Created by the Dave Clark Company of Worcester, who are aerospace and communications developers to this day.
Envelope Folding Machine
The first envelope folding machine was invented by Russel Hawes in 1853. As a non-Worcester side note, the Wright Brothers first got interested in building machines when they created their own folding machine a few decades later.
"Fastest Bicyclist in the World"
This was the title of Marshall "Major" Taylor, the Worcester Whirlwind at the turn of the century. Marshall Taylor was also among the first african-american athletes to have problems with race relations in professional sports.
First American Nobel Prize Winner
Albert A, Michelson of Clark's Physics department, in 1902 he won for his measurement of light.
The First Bible and Dictionary Printed in America
The first Bible and the first dictionary printed in America was in Worcester by Isaiah Thomas who also printed the largest newspaper of the time, the Massachusetts Spy.
First Building With Glass/Steel Exterior
The first building in the nation to have an exterior constructed exclusively of steel and glass. Designed by the Pressed Steel Company for the founder's large collection of armor, Higgin's Armory contains one of the largest collections of armor in the world.
First Federally-Licensed AIDS Test
In 1988, Cambridge Biotech received a federal license for it's AIDS test.
First Female Presidental Cabinet Member
The first woman to serve on a president's cabinet was Frances Perkins, FDR's Secretary of Labor.
First Home Run hit by Ted Williams in New England
During an exhibiton game against Holy Cross in 1939.
The First Liquid Fuel Rocket Launch
It took place in 1926 in Auburn by Worcester professor Robert Goddard who later would go onto work in Roswell, New Mexico for the US Government.
The First Mass Produced Valentines
Esther Howland liked imported Valentines from Europe, so she started to create her own, and eventually founded "The New England Valentine Company."
First National Women's Rights Convention
In 1850 and 1851, the first two national conventions for the right's of women were held in Worcester. Among those attending was Susan B. Anthony.
First Organized Protest Against the US Government
Check your history books for this one, Shay's Rebellion. Farmers led by Daniel Shays marched to the Worcester Courthouse to protest high taxes.
First Perfect Game in Major League Baseball
A National League team called "The Worcesters" pitched a perfect game against the Clevelands, June 12, 1880. The pitcher was J. Lee Richmond.
The First Pizza Pie Mix
Frank A Firoillo in 1952 was the first person to market a Pizza Pie Mix, in 1947 he had the first pizza stand in Worcester.
First Public Reading of the Declaration of Independence
In 1776, Isaiah Thomas who published the Massachusetts Spy, was the first to read the Declaration of Independence to a group, and was the first paper to publish it.
The First Publicly Financed Insane Asylum
Worcester State Hosiptial Judging from some of the people I've know in Worcester, this seems pretty logical. Sigmund Freud even visted it in 1909 during his only trip to America. I have a page devoted to it as well.
First Radio Station in America to play the Beatles
WORC DJ Dick "The Derby" Smith played them here first, the Beatles gave him a gold record for "She Loves You" they were so thankful.
First Supermarket
The first supermarket in the US at the corner of main st and madison st
The Monkey Wrench
Invented by Loring and Aury Coes in 1840.
The "Pill"
The Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology developed the first oral contraceptive during the 1950s and marketed it in 1960 as Enovid-10. The effects of this invention changed the social, political, and bio-technical landscapes for all generations to come.
Ramon Tonelli
Invented Touchcolor for the blind. He was legally blind himself
The Rickshaw
Designed for a missonary heading to South America in 1846, it made it's way to Asia where it gained instant popularity.
Shredded Wheat
Worcester was where Henry Perky created the now famous breakfast cereal.
Steam Calliope
Invented in 1855, it became popular with circuses and river boats.
The Typewriter
The typewriter as is appears today, was invented in Worcester by Charles Thurber in 1840, and patented in 1843.
The Windchill Factor
First defined at by Paul Siple at Clark University.
Yellow Smiley Faces
The popular smiley from the 70s originated here in Worcester at "The America Group Insurance Company" by Harvey Ball, in 1964.

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This is not an official page of the city of Worcester. The views contained within this site is not from any official or funded by the city in anyway.

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Copyright 1998-2012 By Charles R. Grosvenor Jr.