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Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas


Windshield wipers

Real estate developer and rancher Mary Anderson filed a patent for a lever-operated “window cleaning device” for vehicles in 1903, which ended up on some of the earliest popular car models. Credit: Flickr/Alex.



While the specialized modern manually-propelled mini boats vary greatly from their ancestors, whitewater rapids would be a hell of a lot less fun if the indigenous Inuit, Yup'ik and Aleut peoples hadn’t developed the whalebone-framed vessels nearly 4,000 years ago.


The personal watercraft

Anyone who’s wiped out on a Jet Ski owes their adventurous outing to Clayton Jacobson II, a Norwegian-American who developed the idea of a “motorcycle for the water” while tooling around the Mojave Desert.


Sound on film

Do you enjoy listening to movies while you watch them? You can thank Pine Bluff native Freeman Harrison Owens for helping develop an early technique that seamlessly synced sound and picture when filming.

The Hands-Down Best Invention from All 50 States

By: Joe McGauley

America was founded on the principle of fresh ideas, so it’s no surprise that many of the world’s most important innovations and inventions of the last few hundred years were born here. But where exactly did the biggest and brightest of them come from?

See where your state stacks up against the others with this conclusive roundup of the best inventions from all Fifty Nifty. Our most sincere apologies, Mississippi. You’ve never had it easy.

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