9 Boston-based inventions

Did you know that all of these inventions came from Boston? | Photo via @boston_commoner

Did you know that all of these inventions came from Boston? | Photo via @boston_commoner

It’s no secret that we think Boston is pretty great. We’ve got Fenway Park, Cheers, some of the best hospitals and colleges — not to mention, the city is basically the birthplace of the American Revolution.

On top of all of this, many of the products and services we use today actually came from the Greater Boston area. You may know about a few of these already (cough cough, Facebook), but some of these local inventions surprised us.

The microwave

Next time you heat up those leftovers, know that you have Percy Spencer to thank. The engineer created this appliance in the 1940s by accident — he realized the chocolate bar in his pocket had melted during an experiment at Raytheon in Cambridge.

Marshmallow fluff

Who doesn’t love a good Fluffernutter? This classic sandwich spread was actually invented in Somerville, and went on to become a New England staple. Fluff dates back to the early 20th century, when it was sold door-to-door by inventor Archibald Query.

The electric voting machine

Thomas Edison invented more than just the lightbulb. His first patent was the electric voting machine in 1869. The machine was originally meant to be used by Congress, but later became the main method of voting in the presidential election.

The American subway system

All aboard. 🚊 Did you know that the T was the first ever subway system in America? The public transportation system we take today first started as a family-operated ferry service in the 1630s.


Anyone who’s seen “The Social Network” knows this one. The algorithm behind the giant social media platform was created by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 while he was a student at Harvard University.

Fig Newtons

Go on, guess where these came from. That’s right — these chewy snacks originate from Newton.

Disposable blade razors

We have Gillette to thank for a smooth, affordable shave. King C. Gillette first patented the safety razor with disposable blades in 1901.

The telephone

There is some debate about who should actually get credit for creating the telephone, but the patent was granted to Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 while he was in Boston. Then, the first ever phone call was placed three days later from his lab on Court Street.

The World Wide Web Consortium

The standards organization for the World Wide Web (when was the last time you heard that?) was founded in 1994, and created by Tim Berners-Lee at MIT.

Honorable mentions go to chocolate chip cookies and Tupperware, both of which were invented in Massachusetts.

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