The familiar sights and sounds of the summer are here, and you’re ready to bask in the vibes! Where does your mind go when you think of the summertime? Does the thought of an ice cream truck driving down your street make you want to run out the door? Do you reminisce about the savory smells of BBQ? Are you dreaming of the pool and how you can perfect your cannonball? Let’s take a moment to jump into the most iconic summertime inventions that you’ve grown to know and love.
Described as Egyptian-inspired, flip-flops are now crucial to the season! ’Summer is a time when you can swap out those winter boots and heavy socks for sandals and bare feet. And as a classic beach kit essential, flip flops are affordable and cute—plus, they give your feet a moment to breathe!
Flip flops didn’t appear until after WWII when American soldiers returned home, and they took their name from the sounds made when walking. These sandals are such a hit that they earned an unofficial holiday in their name, celebrated every third Friday in June.
Lemonade stands are pure summertime Americana, as you’ll never come across a community that doesn’t have at least one! For young entrepreneurs on their first business venture or children looking to earn extra money, these popular drink booths are a sweet way for patrons to replenished during hottest days.
Throughout the US, lemonade is simply a blend of lemon juice, water, and sugar. However, across the globe, countries have their own versions of lemonade. For example, in New Zealand, lemonade is what they call a lemon-lime soda that is like Sprite. In Lebanon, they incorporate crushed mint leaves into their lemonade to heighten its flavors.
Those pesky critters can quickly turn a bonfire or hike into an itchy and unpleasant experience. When they’re not singing songs in your ears during flight, they’re plotting to have you as their next meal!
Insect repellant came to be during the 1940s after the US government noted that American soldiers carried insecticides in aerosol cans to fight against mosquitoes and other insects.
Skin protection methods have existed since early civilization, with Ancient Greeks using olive oil as a skin moisturizer and barrier from the sun’s rays despite the SPF lacking strength. What a joy to have been introduced to sunscreen!
As perhaps the most significant summertime invention, sunscreen has made rounds since the late 1930s. Several people have been credited with its creation; however, Franz Greiter invented the first generally accepted sunscreen product.
The Super Soaker
A hit with kids, this summer toy brings fun while keeping you refreshed. Described as an “accident” by its inventor, Dr. Lonnie Johnson, he conceived the Super Soaker while he was trying to create a heat pump that used water.
The first Super Soaker was sold in 1990 and is one of the most iconic summer toys of the 20th century.
Before there was air conditioning, there were swimming pools. The first swimming pool in the United States introduced itself to the public in the 1880s. For those in Brookline, Massachusetts, it was the ultimate way of staying cool in the summer while allowing for a great time with your friends.
Today, while the construction of pools might vary, they continue to refresh those who use them worldwide!
Swimming goggles made their mark on the map in the 14th century. However, their beginnings are primitive, as they were crafted from tortoise shells.
First used by pearl divers in Persia, goggles went through many advancements in different regions until meeting Tony Godfrey. Godfrey modernized his design you know today using familiar plastics and materials. Godfrey’s design is still in use during Olympic swimming events!
You can’t have a pool and swimming goggles without a pool noodle! These lightweight inventions introduced themselves to the summer scene as water woggles.
Foamy and flexible, pool noodles are amazing in the water for both play and support. In addition, noodles are hollow, giving you the ability to connect several at a time. These devices bring life to any summer bash with their array of colors.
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Ice Cream Cones
You scream for ice cream; they scream for ice cream! The idea for the first ice cream cone came in the 1800s by Italo Marchiony in New York City. Then, Ernest A. Hamwi introduced a similar invention at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, as a way for people to eat their frozen treat on the go!
Notably, the United States is one of the countries that eat the most ice cream each year. With an astounding 1.6 billion gallons consumed each year, the US ranks second, with New Zealand ranking first. The top ten flavors in America include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, chocolate chip cookie dough, cookies and cream, and butter pecan.
Cookouts are the universal symbol for warm weather, sunshine, and summer break! While Don McGlaughlin invented the gas grill in the 1930s, grilling has a history that dates to pre-Colonial times. The Arawak people in the Caribbean would roast meat on a wooden structure called “barbacoa.” However, the term has undergone some changes to the meaning you understand today.
Did you know that grilling and barbecuing are different activities? The key difference between the two is the cooking process. During grilling, food cooks over direct heat, and the rendering fat that hits the coals creates fumes that provide flavor.
During barbecuing, what provides flavor is the burning wood! Using the heat as convection, the burning wood emits gasses responsible for bringing taste to your food.
These were some of the most iconic summertime inventions that have helped turned a season of fun into what you’re used to seeing today. So next time you’re enjoying a day by the pool or an ice cream cone at your local festival, you can take a moment to appreciate its history and how it made your summer that much cooler.