Other Oklahoma inventions

• Parking meter — Oklahoma City was the first documented city in the United States to install a parking meter. Carl Magee, along with two students at Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, now Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, developed the first parking meter to meet the growth needs of downtown Oklahoma City. When the city started booming in 1902, there were only about 3,000 cars in the state. By 1933, there were about half a million cars statewide. The city was not well equipped to handle cars.

Magee was a journalist and was on the Chamber of Commerce, which saw the need to help alleviate parking issues in the city. Merchants tried time limits to parking, but there was not enough law enforcement to enforce the limits. In 1935, the first parking meter was installed in the city.

• Shopping cart — Sylvan Goldman, owner of the Humpty-Dumpty grocery store chain, invented the shopping cart in 1936 in Oklahoma City. Goldman was originally from Ardmore and married Margaret Katz of Stillwater. Goldman saw the need for customers to move more groceries, which led to the shopping cart invention.

• Trench machine — After World War II, the GI Bill made housing affordable and led to a housing boom nationwide. This led to homebuilders designing houses in mass production to keep up with the demand. Ed Malzahn of Perry felt one area was not moving quick enough. In 1949, he invented a one-person, self-propelled trench machine because at that time people were still digging trenches by hand. The company, called Ditch Witch, is still around today.

• Pavement equipment — More than 50 years ago, the United States started funding the highway system and building roads across the country. Oklahoman Bill Swisher was in the road construction business and noticed that the old ways of laying concrete and asphalt were slow. He developed a machine in the 60s that would lay pavement in one motion, leading to more efficiency.

• The first documented sale of cookies to benefit a Girl Scout troop was in Muskogee in 1917 by the Mistletoe Troop. By 1922, the Girl Scout magazine, The American Girl, printed a cookie recipe for troops to start selling cookies. By the 1920s and 30s, troops were baking their own cookies.

SOURCES: Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society; archives from the Oklahoma Historical Society; and the Girl Scouts of the United States of America

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