The Garden State: Where Ideas Grow

May 18, 2014, 2:00 PM

Many people are familiar with Edison’s “invention factory” in Menlo Park, where he patented the phonograph, the light bulb and other innovations developed at his laboratory in West Orange. Yet many other ideas have grown in the Garden State, too. Seth Boyden perfected the process for making patent leather and malleable iron, invented a nail-making machine, built two steam locomotives, and hybridized a giant strawberry known as the Hilton Strawberry right here in Maplewood. Other New Jerseyans brought sound and music to movies and built the very first drive-in theater. In addition to the first cultivated blueberry, tasty treats like ice cream cones and M&Ms are also Jersey natives. Iconic aspects of American life, like Bubble Wrap, the boardwalk, the Band-Aid, and even professional baseball itself started in New Jersey. Life would be a lot harder without the vacuum cleaner, plastic, air-conditioning, and many other important advances in medicine and surgery that were developed right here in the Garden State.

Durand-Hedden will open at 1pm to give visitors a chance to visit the exhibit The Maplewood Theater: Its Forgotten Saga and to shop in our Country Store, which has great merchandise and sales. At 2pm, historian and author Linda Barth will be our guide as we explore ground-breaking, useful, fun, and even silly inventions and their New Jersey roots. After the talk, Durand-Hedden will celebrate our state’s 350 years of innovation, cultural diversity, and commitment to liberty with a birthday cake and party.

About Linda Barth

A lifelong resident of the Garden State, Linda Barth has served on the board of Celebrate NJ! She has written two books on the D&R Canal for Arcadia Publishing and two children’s picture books: Bridgetender’s Boy, published by the National Canal Museum in 2005, and Hidden New Jersey, from Charlesbridge Publishing in 2012. A History of Inventing in New Jersey: From Thomas Edison to the Ice Cream Cone, published by the History Press, was released in 2013. She has also contributed to the Encyclopedia of New Jersey.

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Slavery in New Jersey: A Troubled History is an illustrated 40-page book that traces the evolution of slavery in New Jersey, which began with Dutch settlement in the seventeenth century and continued through the end of the Civil War.

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