A Poster Series by Replace Celebrating the Inventive Spirit of Minnesota.

2013 - Non-Invasive BCI

A research team at the University of Minnesota developed a non-invasive Brain Computer Interface which reads thoughts and allows someone to fly a remote-controlled helicopter by simply imagining its movements.


1969, Parker Brothers, Minneapolis

The famous Nerf® Wonderball was invented by Minnesota based inventor Reyn Guyer as an indoor volleyball. It was originally marketed as a toy that was safe for use near both babies and the elderly.

1922 - Ralph Samuelson , Lake City, MN

It happened o­n June 28, 1922 that an 18-year-old young gentleman by the name of Ralph Samuelson designed the first water skis from two pine boards and successfully skied on Lake Pepin in Lake City, MN. Ralph used curved barrel staves which were tied to his feet with straps of leather and towed by Ben, his brother, by a simple clothesline.

1912 - Walter Deubener, St. Paul 

Concerned about his customers’ ability to safely carry heavy loads of groceries, St. Paul shop owner Walter Deubener devised a structurally stable method of securing a string handle onto an ordinary shopping bag, changing the way we shop, and saving floors and sidewalks everywhere from dozens and dozens of broken eggs.  

1919 - Pop-Up Toaster, Stillwater

Charles Strite invented the first pop-up toaster while working in a Minnesota factory. He invented it as a solution to the burnt toast problem in the cafeteria. 

1957 - Medtronic, Minneapolis

Inspired by the circuit for an electonic, transistorized metronome, engineer and Medtronic co-founder Earl Bakken created the first battery-operated external pacemaker. These small devices replaced the much larger cart-bound, power outage susceptible machines previously used.

1953 - ERA 1103/UNIVAC 1103

The first commercial computer to use random access memory was created by Engineering Research Associates in Saint Paul. The UNIVAC 1102 was 38 feet long and 28 feet wide, and had 4.5 kB of RAM.  

1931 - World’s First Modern Skyway

The First Modern Skyway in downtown St. Paul connects the 17th floor of the First National Bank Building to the neighboring Merchants Bank Building. At the time it was difficult  for the builders to obtain the materials due to the construction of the Empire State Building in New York City.

1964 - ALVIN, General Mills, Minneapolis

Owned by the US Navy and still in active service after almost 50 years, ALVIN, a manned deep-ocean submarine, has made over 4,400 deep sea dives, including the exploration of the Titanic wreckage.

1947 - Mound Metalcraft Company, MN

In 1947, a garden tool company began making metal toys. In the 1950’s, they changed their name to Tonka Toys Inc. (after Lake Minnetonka) and began making the now famous “Tonka Trucks”.


1966 - Charles Foley and Neil Rabens.

The collaborators developed the human pretzel party game for a St. Paul manufacturing firm in the mid-1960s. The game was wildly popularized when Johnny Carson and Eva Gabor played it on "The Tonight Show" in 1966.

19179 - Scott and Brennan Olsen

In 1979, the Olson brothers picked up another inventors take on in-line skates at a local sporting goods store and began working on improving the somewhat clunky design. Working from their parent’s basement, they purchased the patent, polished the design and Rollerblades® were born.

1937 - Hormel, Austin, MN

The famous spiced luncheon meat in a can was created by Jay C. Hormel, son of Austin-based Hormel founder George C. Hormel as a way to make use of underutilized pork shoulder.

1942 - Electronic Autopilot, Honeywell

Founded as a Heating Company, Minneapolis based Honeywell Inc. became a defense contractor during World War II. The C1 Autopilot was first installed in the B-29 Bomber and was later produced for civilian aircraft. Subsequent versions of the C1  were implemented in the space program. 

1963 - Retractable Seat Belt

Although the seat belt had been around before 1963, James “Crash” Ryan invented the seat belt you see in cars today. Ryan’s belt was designed to lock up in the event of an accident, making it much safer. Often Ryan used himself as a subject in his tests, gaining the nickname “Crash”.

1956 - First Indoor Shopping Center

Southdale is the oldest fully climate-controlled indoor shopping center. The Austrian born architect Simon Gruen modelled the shopping center on the arcades of European cities. 

1950 - H. David Dalquist, Minneapolis

Charged with creating a pan that could bake a more dense, European style cake, Nordic Ware founder H. David Dalquist invented the iconic bundt pan, a round baking pan with a hole in the center.