We Made It!

Can you find all of the hidden words?

From corny dogs to the microchip, Dallas is birthplace to many famous and not-so-famous inventions. Now that you’ve found all twenty-one Dallas discoveries and start-ups, learn a little more about them:

·         ATM (Automated Teller Machine): Don Wetzel, an executive at Docutel, a Dallas company that developed automated baggage-handling equipment, is generally credited as coming up with the idea for the modern ATM while standing in a bank line.

·         Barney & Friends: Barney & Friends is an American children's television series aimed at children from ages one to eight. Barney was created in 1987 by Sheryl Leach of Dallas, Texas.

·         Car Radios: The story goes that on a cool Dallas summer evening in the 1920’s, two young couples who were double dating parked up on a lookout under the moonlight and started to get romantic, when one of the young ladies said that the night would be even better if they could listen to some music in the car. One of those young gentlemen was Henry Garrett, inventor of the car radio.

·         Convenience Stores: In 1927, Green, an employee of Dallas’ Southland Ice Company, decided to start selling items such as milk, bread and eggs from a makeshift storefront at one of the company’s locations. A year later, he’d expanded the idea into a chain of Tot’em stores that sold gasoline in addition to food items. By 1946, the stores were so popular that they began staying open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. — a practice nobody else was really doing at the time — and changed its name to 7-Eleven to reflect these new hours.

·         Corny Dogs: The Fletcher's Corny Dog, first sold at Fair Park by brothers Carl and Neil Fletcher in 1942 during the State Fair of Texas.

·         Doritos: The idea for Doritos was conceived in Disneyland, of all places, by Arch West of the Dallas based Fritos (now Frito Lay). When he returned to work from Disneyland, he pitched the idea of selling packaged tortilla chips—a happy medium between Lay’s thin potato chips and Fritos’ thick, curly corn chips. West called his chips Doritos — a sort of Americanization of the Spanish word doradito, which translates roughly to “little bits of gold.” And, after finding success in test markets, Frito-Lay officially put Doritos on the market in 1966. The following year, the company introduced a taco-flavored version of the popular chips. Later, in 1972, Doritos introduced its best-selling nacho cheese flavor. In the years since, the company has released over 100 different flavors of Doritos on the market.

·         Drive-In Restaurants: Kirby's Pig Stand opened in September 1921 in Dallas, Texas. It was America's first drive-in restaurant. The scheme of the restaurant "consisted of a red-tiled pagoda-like roof set on a rectangular building framed of wood and covered in stucco (a fine plaster used for coating wall surfaces or molding into architectural decorations). A 1927 newspaper advertisement claimed over 5,000 people in Dallas alone had their evening meal at the Pig Stands." It was popular for "chicken-fried steak sandwich, fried onion rings, milkshake, pig sandwich, and their Texas toast." Kirby's Pig Stands revolutionized the way Americans eat everyday meals.

·         Drive Through Banks: Architect George Dahl designed many prominent Dallas buildings, and perhaps most notably the Neiman Marcus, Titche-Goettinger, and Mayfair buildings in Downtown. Perhaps his most lasting design achievement, though, was the Hillcrest State Bank. When the University Park-located bank opened in 1938, it featured the country’s first drive-up banking window.

·         Elevator Music: the forward-thinking people at the Statler Hilton, who pioneered the use of music in hotel elevators

·         Frozen Margarita: Mariano Martinez, of La Hacienda Ranch restaurants, did a little tinkering on a soft serve machine to blend together ice, lime juice, and -- most importantly -- tequila. It’s also been suggested that the original, non-frozen form originated right here in Dallas as well, courtesy of socialite Margaret Sames, though that claim is more disputed.

·         German Chocolate Cake: The first reference to German chocolate cake appeared in the Dallas Morning Star in 1957, courtesy of a local homemaker, Mrs. George Clay.

·         Hand Held Calculators: When Texas Instruments introduced its four-by-six-by-one-and-a-quarter-inch-thick calculator to the market in 1972, it quickly took over a market still dominated by the slide rule. No wonder, really: The company’s closest competitor was offering a 55-pound model that cost $2,500 and had to be plugged into the wall to operate. TI’s less-than-three-pound model could add, subtract, multiply, and divide — and printed its results on a small roll of paper.

·         Laser Tag: Inspired by the movie Star Wars, Dallas’ George Carter decided to create a game that would allow players to run around and shoot each other with lasers. And, unlike when kids play cops and robbers growing up, a central scoring system would definitely let players know who, in fact, shot who first. Thus, he opened the first Photon lasertag arena in 1984.

·         Liquid Paper: In 1951, Dallas typist Bette Nesmith Graham began mixing tempera paint and other ingredients using the blender in her kitchen in hopes to come up with a fluid to correct her many typing mistakes. For the next five years, she began making bottles of Mistake Out for her coworkers. After being fired from her typing job, she decided to try and sell her product to IBM, who turned her down. Then, in 1979, Graham finally sold her Liquid Paper Company to Gillette for $47.5 million plus royalties.

·         Mary Kay: Mary Kay Inc. is an American privately owned multi-level marketing company. According to Direct Selling News, Mary Kay was the sixth largest network marketing company in the world in 2015, with a wholesale volume of US$3.7 billion. Mary Kay is based in Addison, Texas, outside Dallas. The company was founded by Mary Kay Ash in Dallas in 1963 as a storefront.

·         Microchip: The invention of the microchip, by Jack Kilby in 1958 at Texas Instruments, completely revolutionized the way electronics were produced, eventually netting Kilby a Nobel Prize.

·         Self-Serve Salad Bars: In 1966 Norman Brinker decided that, were he to open a joint that sold eight-ounce filets for under $2, it’d be a massive hit with the middle-class. Thus, Steak and Ale was born. That chain is also said to have launched another dining innovation — the self-serve salad bar.

·         Snow Cones: Dallasite Samuel Bert — or “King Sammie” as he was locally known — debuted the Snow Cone treat at the 1919 State Fair of Texas. The next year, he patented an ice-crushing machine that helped him crank out as many as a million snow cones a year during the fair’s run from the early ’50s until his death in 1984.

·         Stadium Nachos: In 1976, concessionaire Frank Liberto of Ricos products developed a cheap, liquid cheese product that could not only be quickly pumped onto chips, but that had an extremely long shelf life without needing to be refrigerated. That year, he began selling the first ballpark-style nachos during Texas Rangers games at Arlington Stadium, where they were an immediate success.

·         Super Bowl: In 1966, SMU grad Lamar Hunt wrote a letter to then-NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and jokingly referred to the championship game between the NFL and AFL as the "Super Bowl," and while it took three years for that to officially become the title, the media picked up on it right away and has run with it ever since.

·         Voicemail: Gordon Matthews’ 1979 patent for the technology that we now know as voice mail that made him a legend. With his company VMX, which stood for Voice Message Express, he sold corporations equipment that allowed its employees to exchange, send, receive, store, forward, and erase voice messages from any phone in the office.

Many of these details are courtesy of Wikipedia, CentralTrack, and the internet


Concept: Anna Procter
Design: Frances Yllana

Anna Procter
Contributed by:
Anna Procter
Contributed by:
Frances Yllana


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