If you are squeamish and fear going to the dentist, then this story may not be for you! Michigan is credited with introducing numerous inventions and creations that have shaped the daily lives of millions of Americans and changed the way we live for the better.
The most notable product to come out of Michigan is no doubt the Model T and the assembly line, thanks to Henry Ford. However other inventions of note include the first prepared baking mix, also known as Jiffy Mix, created by Mabel White Holmes of Chelsea, MI and the creation of canned baby food by Daniel Frank Gerber in Fremont, MI. I had no idea the dental drill was a Michigan-made invention though-- and by a Kalamazoo man no less!
George F. Green
A Kalamazoo-based inventor and dentist, George F. Green revolutionized oral health and dental care with techniques and tools that can still be seen in use today. Now, dental care was not something new in the 1800s as humans had been drilling teeth for over 9000 years. George F. Green simply improved the way we were doing it! Says the Bronx Chronicle,
Those who dread the device should consider the primitive state of dental technology before George Green...was granted his patent!
Green was granted a patent for his pneumatic dental drill on January 26, 1875. George's dental drill had an electromagnetic motor in it that operated by a rotating fan wheel that was controlled by a foot pedal. The drill was no doubt quite noisy, but way more efficient than the mechanical hand drills that were used previously.
Today, the state of most American's teeth are in better shape thanks to fluoridated water-- something Grand Rapids, MI is known for being the first! These days dentists seem to keep busier addressing gum health issues than filling cavities.
Before his death Green went on to invent and receive patents for "the first full sized electric rail car ever operated from a stationary source of electric energy which was capable of carrying passengers" and a pneumatic camera shutter.
George F. Green passed away in Kalamazoo in June 1892 at age sixty.
15 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Michigan
10 Things You'll Find in Any Michigan Home