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The Top 10 Connecticut Inventions

April 12, 2021 2:05 pm

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Have you ever wondered, “What things were invented in Connecticut?” Connecticut may be small but it’s rich in history and was the birthplace of many great firsts, inventions, and cultural developments.

From literary firsts to life-changing inventions, here is a list of things have originated in Connecticut, the home of the first three Delamar hotels.

1) The American English Dictionary

That’s right! Noah Webster, author of An American Dictionary of the English Language, was a Hartford Native. The original dictionary took 26 years to complete and contained more than 65,000 words and definitions. You can still visit his home-turned-museum to learn about his life and legacy. 

2) Lollipops

George Smith, owner of a confectionery company called the Bradley Smith Company, is credited with inventing the modern version of the lollipop which he began making in 1908 in New Haven. Although the word “lollipop” is a generic term today, it was initially patented by and registered to the Bradley Smith Company. 

3) The Frisbee

You didn’t see this one coming, did you? Who was the first to come up with the invention is a topic for hot debate. But according to legend, Yale University students would toss and catch empty pie tins from The Frisbie Pie Company while yelling “Frisbie.” This game was picked up by students on nearby college campuses and the rest is history. 

4) Polaroid

In an era of selfies and smartphones, Polaroids have suddenly become fashionable again, especially for weddings. But did you know that the first Polaroid camera was invented right here in Connecticut? Edwin Land, born in Bridgeport, was the co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation and is credited with inventing the Polaroid Camera in 1947. 

5) The Cotton Gin

Eli Whitney attended Yale University and lived in New Haven, where he worked on his invention. The cotton gin—a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton fibers from their seeds—changed the course of American history, speeding the way for the Industrial Revolution.

After its invention, the yield of raw cotton increased significantly each decade after 1800, but so did the demand for a slave-labor force. The invention had a profound effect on the social and economic conditions of the South leading up to the Civil War.

6) The Hamburger

A staple of American cuisine, the Hamburger was first served by Louis Lassen in 1900 from his New Haven lunch wagon. Answering a customer’s rush order for something “quick and delicious,” Lassen sandwiched broiled, ground beef between toasted bread slices and offered it to the customer as a new creation. This new sandwich grew into the national phenomenon that it is today. 

Louis’ Lunch is still in operation today at 263 Crown Street in New Haven. Stop by and try the original burger served on white toast with only cheese, onion, and tomato as garnishes. 

7) The Can Opener

Ezra J. Warner of Waterbury invented and patented his design of a can opener back in 1858. Considering the fact that canned food started to be sold almost half a century earlier, we can only imagine what a hassle it must have been to open cans before this invention!

8) The Submarine

While studying at Yale in 1775, Saybrook, CT native David Bushnell created the first submarine ever used in combat. Calling it the “Turtle,” Bushnell trained a man named Ezra Lee to pilot the submarine into New York Harbor and attempt to bomb a British Warship anchored in the bay. While all attempts failed and the “Turtle” was sunk by the British, Bushnell became the man responsible for the first submarine warfare. 

9) The Constitution

There’s a reason we’re known as the “The Constitution State”. The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, established in January 1639, was the first written constitution in North America and served as an example for The Constitution of the United States almost 100 years later.

10) Vulcanized Rubber

While this may not seem as significant as the Hamburger or the American dictionary, this is one invention that we rely on every day. This kind of rubber is stabilized and used for car tires. It was invented by Charles Goodyear, who was born in New Haven in 1800. By treating rubber with chemicals, Goodyear made rubber that was more durable, waterproof and had resistance to rust, corrosion, and mold. 

The Delamar Hotels

We can’t talk about things that originated in Connecticut without mentioning the Delamar hotels. Our first hotel, Delamar Greenwich Harbor, opened its doors in October 2002, providing Fairfield County with much-needed luxury accommodations. Our other two hotels in West Hartford and Southport embraced the unique boutique qualities of the Delamar brand, offering a sense of luxury, comfort, and escape. All of our hotels include award-winning restaurants, as well as full-service Spas to provide our guests with relaxation and comfort. 

Our Delamar family looks forward to welcoming you and your loved ones to our hotels!

Famous Connecticut Authors: Literary Landmarks in the Nutmeg State

April 2, 2021 12:07 pm

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When it comes to literary legacy and excellence, Connecticut has no shortage of famous authors. The homes of many famous authors have been transformed into museums that help visitors get a sense of the experiences that inspired these authors’ stories.

Here’s a look at some of the must-see literary attractions in the nutmeg state and the authors who called it home. And when you are done with your tour, grab a book and snuggle up in a luxurious guestroom at a nearby Delamar location.

Noah Webster House – West Hartford

The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society is located in the restored 18th-century birthplace and childhood home of Noah Webster. Although a prolific writer, he is best known for creating the first American English dictionary that also bears his name.

Webster was an ardent patriot and believed that to be an independent country, America needed to teach its children to speak, write, and spell in American English, rather than British English. His The Blue-Backed Speller and An American Dictionary of the English Language—which took 26 years to complete and contained more than 65,000 words and their definitions—helped to standardize American spelling. The house and museum preserve and celebrate Noah Webster’s legacy through poetry nights, book talks, and author events.

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center – Hartford

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was an abolitionist and the author of over 30 books, but she is perhaps best remembered for her best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Published in 1852, the novel became widely popular in the north for exposing the inhumanity of slavery and the treatment of African-Americans in the south. It is said that the novel helped lay the foundation for the American Civil War. 

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is home to Stowe’s home, as well as Victorian grounds and gardens. The museum explores her life and works but also holds regular programs that help visitors connect the social issues of the past — such as slavery and the role of women — to the present. 

Mark Twain House – Hartford

The Mark Twain House was once home to legendary writer Samuel L. Clemens, who wrote under the name Mark Twain. He first came to Hartford in 1868 while writing The Innocents Abroad and fell in love with the city. A few years later, he hired Edward Tuckerman Potter to design and build his dream house in Hartford in the style of Victorian Gothic architecture. 

This 25-room Victorian home-turned museum is where he lived with his family from 1874 to 1891 and wrote many of his famous novels, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, A Tramp Abroad, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. The house has been named “one of the ten best historic homes in the world” by National Geographic and is a must-see for anyone exploring the rich literary history of Connecticut. 

Monte Cristo Cottage – New London

The Monte Cristo Cottage is the childhood summer home of Eugene O’Neill, America’s only Nobel Prize-winning playwright. Registered as a National Historic Landmark in 1971, the Cottage is the setting for two of O’Neill’s most notable works, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and Ah, Wilderness!

The cottage is named in honor of Eugene O’Neill’s father, actor James O’Neill, and his role as Edmond Dantès in the 1934 film The Count of Monte Cristo. It now operates as a museum with a permanent exhibition on the life and works of Eugene O’Neill, as well as an extensive collection of artifacts and memorabilia. 

Gillette Castle – East Haddam

Built atop one of a series of hills known as the Seven Sisters, this castle was once home to William Gillette, an American playwright, screenwriter, and actor. Gillette initially got his start being cast by Mark Twain in a theatrical adaptation of The Gilded Age. But his real stardom came with the play he adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, and later in the film, which he also wrote. 

The outside of the castle looks like a medieval fortress. It went through extensive restoration in the early 2000s, and now includes a visitors’ center, museum, hiking trails, and picnic areas.

Explore the Literary History of Connecticut

Connecticut has been a vital part of American history and story, whether it’s in the arts, government, or literacy. When you’re exploring the rich literary history of Connecticut, be sure to book your stay at a hotel that offers a convenient home base to your landmarks, but doesn’t compromise on luxurious details, comfort, and COVID protocols. 

With three elegant, dog-friendly locations throughout Connecticut (Greenwich, Southport, and West Hartford), Delamar offers relaxing stays and joyful experiences to all our guests.

Image by Jim Heaphy