Can you imagine life without a dishwasher? Fudge brownies? Your cell phone? Neither can we—that’s why we’re taking a moment this National Inventors’ Day to recognize a few Illinois inventors and their contributions to history.

dishwasher-clean-sparkling-fresh-84558.jpegIn 1885, Josephine Cochrane developed the dishwasher in Shelbyville. As the story goes, Cochrane—a wealthy socialite who frequently hosted dinner parties—hated washing dishes so much that she invented and patented the world’s first mechanical dishwasher. She founded the Garis-Cochran Manufacturing Company in 1886, which became part of KitchenAid after her death in 1913.


chocolate-brownies-668624_1280.jpgSweet-toothed Illinoisans, rejoice: Chefs at Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel invented the brownie in 1893. According to legend, the hotel owner’s wife requested a dessert that would hold up in boxed lunches for attendees of the World Colombian Exposition. The result? A nutty, apricot-glazed predecessor to the fudgy treats we know today.

Inspired by the futuristic communicators he saw on Star Trek, Martin Cooper of Motorola invented the first cell phone in Schaumburg in 1973. His invention, the DynaTAC 8000x, was a little different than the pocket-sized versions we carry today—it weighed over 2.5 pounds, measured 10 inches long and offered about 20 minutes of talk time on a 10-hour charge.DynaTAC8000X.jpg

But that isn’t all—the solo cup, the Ferris Wheel and the wireless remote control were invented in Illinois, too. Across the state and around the world, we’re glad that inspiration struck these home state heroes. What will you come up with?