Thanks to Eric, the Lower Nob Hill neighborhood leader at NextDoor.com, and the ever watchful TheBoldItalic blog, we have a pride-instilling list of a few of SF’s finest inventions. Of course, to the dismay of my New York friends, I must add Chicken Tetrazzini to the San Francisco claims.
No one loves mimosas (especially the bottomless kind) more than San Franciscans, so it makes sense that our favorite brunch pastime was invented within the 7×7. And in case mimosas weren’t already badass enough, there are some who believe that they were invented by the king of horror Alfred Hitchcock, after a night of heavy drinking at classic, old school SF restaurant Jack’s (what became Jeanty at Jack’s in 2002). No word yet on who decided that you had to chug them until you puke every Sunday morning.
The United Nations
Okay, okay, so I don’t know where F.D.R. was when he first came up with the idea for a global peace-keeping body, but I do know that the United Nations was signed into existence in San Francisco in 1945. In my book, that means we can claim it, after all, there’s a reason it’s called United Nations Plaza.
Yup, you heard right, that beloved box that transmits GIRLS and Game of Thrones to your tiny living room was invented in SF. On September 7, 1927, the Image Dissector – the prototype camera developed by Philo Farnsworth – transmitted its first image, a simple straight line, at his laboratory at 202 Green Street in San Francisco. Two years later, he sent the first image of a human, his wife, over the airwaves.
The beloved frozen treat was invented by an 11-year-old San Franciscan named Frank Epperson. After accidentally leaving his fruit soda outside with a mixing straw in it, Epperson invented the hot weather treat and dubbed it the Epsicle. Epperson’s children gave the ice cream its modern day, the popsicle, by combining the words lollipop and icicle.
Las Vegas owes us so much. The first slot machine was invented right here in SF by Charles Fey at the end of the nineteenth century. The original gambling machine had five images: horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts, and a Liberty Bell. And just imagine the kind of real gold that could be won in the city at that time!
No one is quite certain how this American dish got its start or its name. Some believe that a Chinese chef threw together the night’s leftovers in broth and served it to customers who had angered him only to be really surprised when the patrons loved it. Others say that chop suey came to be when a chef had to come up with a quick and easy way to appease a bunch of drunk miners. Either way, everyone’s pretty sure that it came to be right here in San Francisco.