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Tom Thumb Donut Machine, MN State Fair, St. Paul, Minnesota, August 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 

No one leaves the Minnesota State Fair without a bag of Tom Thumb Donuts. I’ve gone a whole day, been dead on my feet, and made the trek back to the Tom Thumb stand to grab a 500 calorie bag of melt-in-your-mouth mini-donuts to eat on the long walk to the car.

I’m also mesmerized by the mini-donut making machine. It was invented in 1947 at the Ryan Aeronautical Company in California by a group of engineers who were sitting idle after the war. That year, they started greasing the wheel and each machine splashes out 90 deep-fried donuts per minute.

Tom Thumb Donuts was established a few years later in 1949. Do you know how Tom Thumb Donuts made it to the Minnesota State Fair?

 
According to a Chippewa Herald article by writer Tom Arneberg, John Desmond and his wife Janet brought Tom Thumb Donuts to the Minnesota State Fair in 1952. Then two boys in Desmond’s Minneapolis neighborhood, Ted Boecher and John Hanson, grew up working at the stand and took it over after John Desmond’s death.

Sadly, a few years later, Hanson died of a heart attack right in the main Tom Thumb booth next to Ye Olde Mill, leaving Ted Boecher to manage the stand.

 
Through 6 degrees of separation (and the framing of a Tom Thumb Donut bag kept in his kitchen), Tom Arneberg met manager Ted Boecher and he and his family were given a personal guided tour through the whole mini-donut making operation. Arneberg, a community columnist for the Chippewa Herald, wrote a piece in which he describes the whole experience, including his love for the Minnesota State Fair.

I found Arneberg’s column when researching the history of Tom Thumb Donuts to go with these photographs. You’ve got to read it to find out his personal best for bags of Tom Thumb Donuts eaten in one trip to the Minnesota State Fair!

What’s your personal best for your favorite State Fair food?

To jog your memory, this year’s whole list of Minnesota State Fair foods on-a-stick and a link to the FoodFinder (along with past State Fair posts) can be found at our annual red Ravine State Fair post MN State Fair On-A-Stick (Princesses & Butter Queens). We’ll be at the Fair this Friday. Maybe we’ll see you there!

 

     

Don’t Bite The Hand That Feeds You, Tom Thumb –
Light As A Feather
, MN State Fair, St. Paul,
Minnesota, August 2008, all photos © 2008-2009
by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

-related to post: WRITING TOPIC – BAND-AIDS® & OTHER 1920’s INVENTIONS, the velveeta cheese of donuts haiku, Two Degrees Of Celebrity Sighting

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Wonder X 7, November 2007, Central Pennsylvania, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Wonder X 7, November 2007, somewhere in Central Pennsylvania, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.






 

Otto’s bread cutter
invention holds mystery
a slice of wonder








             Wonder, November 2007, Central Pennsylvania, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Wonder, November 2007, Central Pennsylvania, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Wonder, November 2007, Central Pennsylvania, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

                               

                                            



-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

-related to posts: haiku (one-a-day), White Bread Revival, WRITING TOPIC – BAND-AIDS® & OTHER 1920’s INVENTIONS

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Band-Aid Freak!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Band-Aid Freak!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



I’m a Band-Aid® freak. I love Band-Aid® Brand Adhesive Bandages. I’m famous around the office for stocking a plentiful amount in the metal bin above my cube. Paper cut? No problem. Spider-Man, Batman or SpongeBob SquarePants to the rescue!

Band-Aid® Bandages were invented in 1920 by a New Jersey man named Earl Dickson. Earl worked as a cotton buyer for a small start-up company called Johnson & Johnson. His wife Josephine (formerly Josephine Frances Knight) was always picking up nicks and cuts in the kitchen. Earl invented a ready-made bandage by placing squares of cotton gauze at intervals along an adhesive strip and covering them with crinoline (petticoat material!).



First Poison Ivy Of The Year!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.First Poison Ivy Of The Year!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.First Poison Ivy Of The Year!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



The Band-Aid® was born.

But the new product only sold a total of $3000 the first year. It was the Boy Scouts who put Band-Aid® on the map after an unlimited number of free Band-Aids® were distributed to Boy Scout troops across the country. The long history of innovation continued, and as of 2001, over 100 billion Band-Aid® Brand Bandages had rolled off the assembly line.

In the 1970’s,  John Travolta, Terri Garr, and Brooke Shields all appeared in Band-Aid® commercials. And remember that little jingle, I am stuck on Band-Aid® ’cause Band-Aid®‘s stuck on me? It was penned by Barry Manilow (and will surely get stuck in your head!). Barry did pretty well in the jingle business and is also responsible for Like a good neighbor…well, you know the rest.

Earl Dickson didn’t do too bad for himself either. Johnson & Johnson eventually made Dickson a vice president at the company, a position in which he remained until his retirement in 1957. He was also a member of the board of directors until his death in 1961. At the time of his death, Johnson & Johnson was selling over $30,000,000 worth of Band-Aids® each year.

As much as I love Band-Aids®, they weren’t the only invention of the 1920’s. It was a decade quick to embrace wild ideas and new technologies. Here’s a video and a short timeline of other 1920’s inventions:




               Crazy 1920’s Inventions from Aaron1912 on YouTube



 

  • Hair Dryer (1920)

Prior to 1920, woman dried their hair by inserting a hose in the exhaust of a vacuum cleaner and blowing themselves dry. But in 1920, hand held dryers were introduced by the US Racine Universal Motor Company (Wisconsin), and the Hamilton Beach Company.

  • Combustion Engine Car (1920)

Invented by Henry Ford, cars powered by combustion engines were affordable to the American public and mass produced. The ‘Model-T’ was the first car to roll off the assembly line. (If the price of gas is any indication, the love affair lives on!) 

  • Kool-Aid (1927)

Edwin Perkins of Hastings, Nebraska created the most important invention in American history: Kool-Aid (originally called Fruit Smack). Perkins was a chemist who owned “Perkins Product Company” which sold perfume and calling cards. The original Kool-Aid flavors? Cherry, Lemon-Lime, Grape, Orange, Root Beer, Strawberry, and Raspberry.

  • Liquid-Fueled Rocket (1926)

Robert Goddard’s liquid-fueled rocket and methods of propulsion are still used by the North American Space Association. His oxygen and liquid fuel lifted the original rocket 184 ft.

  • Q-Tips (1923)

Polish-born American Leo Gerstenzang was married to a woman who used to cotton swab each end of a stick to clean her baby’s ears. Leo took her innovation and put it on the market. Then called ‘Baby Gays”, the wood was replaced by white cardboard, and Gerstenzang started the “Infant Novelty Company” to sell Q-Tips.

  • Lie Detector (1921)

John A. Larson was a medical student at the University of California when he invented the Polygraph, or lie detector. The device measured heartbeat and breathing to determine if a person was lying, and later included a skin monitoring system to measure sweat.

  • Bread Slicer (1927)

Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Iowa got the idea for a bread slicer in 1912, and in 1927 invented a machine that could successfully cut and wrap a loaf of bread. The machine was later improved by baker Gustav Papendick.

  • Bulldozer (1923)

In 1885, engineer Benjamin Holt built a crawling tractor, which he called “caterpillar.” Later, scraping blades were attached and in 1923, LaPlant-Choate Manufacturing Company produced the first bulldozer.

  • Traffic Light (1920)

Police officer William Potts from Detroit, Michigan was the inventor of the traffic light. Using red, amber and green lights, and $37 worth of wire, he built a light for the corner of Woodward and Michigan Avenues in Detroit. Around the same time, African-American Garrett Morgan invented the automated traffic light. It worked the same way railroad lights work today and was the concept on which four way traffic lights were built.

 


History is pregnant with writing possibility. Pick a 1920’s invention — the combustion engine, the lie detector, the hair dryer — and write about how it changed the future.

Do a Writing Practice on the first childhood memory that comes to mind when you think of Kool-Aid, Band-Aids®, or Q-Tips.

Maybe you hate the feel of a Q-Tip in your ear; or maybe it’s something you look forward to after a morning shower. When’s the last time you tasted Kool-Aid? Did you know it was invented in Nebraska (along with CliffsNotes and the Vise-Grip)?


What’s the greatest thing ever invented? Ten minutes, Go!



-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

-related to post, If You Could Go Back In Time…

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