Cate Price — Inventive Minds

Welcome Cate Price — thanks so much for stopping by today.

Image 1New Haven – Who Knew?
By Cate Price

Thanks so much to the Wickeds for having me on the blog today!

5_-_New_Haven_MuseumAlthough I live in Pennsylvania now, I’m originally from Connecticut, and when I went home for Christmas, my mom and I paid a visit to the New Haven Museum. Currently they have an exhibit called “From Clocks to Lollipops”, a wonderful showcase of objects, advertisements, and photographs of consumer goods produced in New Haven over the past three hundred years.

1_-_The_Cotton_GinYou may already know that the Cotton Gin was invented by Eli Whitney, a Yale graduate, who patented his device to separate cotton from seeds, and built an armory north of the city that would become the first modern American factory.
But did you also know that lollipops were invented in New Haven by the Bradley Smith Company, originally trademarked as “Lolly Pop”?

Or how about the Erector Set, that classic toy in a bright red steel case? It was produced by A.C. Gilbert, who graduated from Yale with a medical degree. It was the most popular gift for boys in 1954. The A.C. Gilbert Company also made the Atomic Energy Set and American Flyer model trains.

2_-_New_Haven_inventionsOther innovations in commerce connected to New Haven include the mortise lock, truss bridge, corkscrew, stone crusher, carriage spring, match book, telegraph, bicycle crank, corset, processed rubber, lever action rifle, toy motor, Silly Putty, metronome, and more.  Who knew?!

The museum also has an exhibit about “Deane Keller, New Haven’s Monuments Man”. He was an art professor from Yale who was dispatched to Italy during WWII as part of an international effort to save precious works of European art from the Nazis. His story was largely unknown until the release of the film “The Monuments Men” starring George Clooney.

Another interesting room is “Nothing is Set in Stone: The Lincoln Oak and the New Haven Green”. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy brought down the mighty oak tree on the Green that had been planted in 1909 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. Area artists were invited to use salvaged pieces of the tree to create original art projects and the beautiful results are on display.


The New Haven Museum is really worth a visit if you’re in the area. It’s located at 114 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT 06510. (203) 562-4183.

Readers: What was invented where you live?lie-of-needle-200

Cate Price is the author of the Deadly Notions mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime, about the proprietor of a vintage sewing notions shop located in Bucks County, PA. LIE OF THE NEEDLE, the third in the series, was published on January 6, 2015.
She loves to hear from readers via her website or on Facebook at

17 Thoughts

  1. Those Yale men really left their mark. I will put the Museum on my list of places to visit.

  2. Thanks for visiting, Cate! Corsets, lollipops and matchbooks are quite the contribution to society! When I was in kindergarten I lived in Battle Creek, Michigan, birthplace of Kellogg’s cereals. My class went on a field trip to the factory and met Tony the Tiger at the end of the tour.

  3. I decided to look up Iowa inventors after reading Cate’s post. It was a toss up between Eskimo Pies and buffered aspirin for me. Thanks for joining us today, Cate! I love museums!

    1. I decided to look up Philly inventions, too! Of course we had Ben Franklin inventing everything from reading glasses to lightning rods, but also the Ferris wheel, Hire’s Root Beer, bubble gum, and let’s not forget the Slinky!

  4. I’m reading a history book about an entrepreneur in the 19th century right now, figuring out how Julia’s mother’s family made their money. One thing that struck me about New Englanders. They’ve never had much in the way of natural resources, well, cod, whales and timber (the period I’m reading about is before water power mattered), so they have always been investors, traders and inventors. I never realized how much a counting house in the early 1800s resembled a venture capital firm.

  5. Very interesting list. I grew up in the town where Luther Burbank (plant genetics) lived, but that’s about all we can claim as far as I know.

    1. It’s neat to research where you live. You never know what you’ll find!
      New Haven is a great city and there’s lots more to see, like the Beinecke Rare Book Library, or you can tour Yale’s campus, see the Grove Street cemetery, Peabody Museum, etc.

  6. Oh, wow. I’m from New Haven and live in Bucks County now. I’m pretty sure we’re not the same person, but . . .


    Anyway, loved the post about New Haven. I’ve long wondered why the city has never rebounded. It has a lot to offer.

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