Betty White, everyone’s favorite comedienne, just turned 98-years-young and has seen many fabulous inventions that we all take for granted in our everyday lives. From electronic gadgets to an easier way to make a sandwich, the Golden Girls star has seen the birth of them all and like these life-changing innovations, she keeps growing and changing with each year of her fabulous life.
Here are some surprising things that Betty White, born in 1922, is older than.
Sliced Bread was not invented until 1928. Creator Otto Frederick Rohwedder actually had a prototype for his bread slicing machine as early as 1912, but it was destroyed in a fire. The Chillicothe Baking Company sold the first loaf that utilized Rohwedder’s slicing machine, called “Kleen Maid Sliced Bread,” per Ranker.
The Color Television
The first color system was developed by John Logie Baird in 1928. In the early 1940s, CBS pioneered a system which transmitted an image in each of the three primary colors sequentially. A wheel with segments of red, green, and blue rotated in front of the camera, while a similar wheel rotated in front of the television screen, synchronized to the one at the camera. The system was simple and produced excellent pictures, though it had many drawbacks, including low resolution and flicker, per Early Television.
Penicillin was discovered in 1930, eight years after a White was born. The antibiotic gave hope to those who were suffering from pneumonia and rheumatic fever. Alexander Fleming’s invention has been recognized as one of the greatest advances in therapeutic medicine, according to Healio.
Richard Drew actually invented the miracle adhesive in 1930, helping millions of people wrap and secure their most important things without using sticky glue, per Gizmodo. The 23-year-old then lab assistant for 3M got the idea to create a new tape for automotive painters that would create a seal so that the paint wouldn’t get through and yet also come off clean without leaving any sticky residue that ruined the paint finish.
The first canned beer appeared on the market sometime in the mid-30s, well after Betty White’s birth in 1922. January 24, 1935, was the day cans of Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale first went on sale in Richmond, VA. The beer can made its official debut some 14 months earlier – just before the repeal of Prohibition, reported The Brewery Collectibles Club of America.
The mouse that would go on to become the mascot of the most beloved group of amusement parks around the world was created by Walt Disney at Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1928. Created as a replacement for a prior Disney character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Mickey first appeared in the short Plane Crazy, debuting publicly in the short film Steamboat Willie (1928), one of the first sound cartoons per Walt Disney.
Inexpensive mass-produced sunglasses made from celluloid were first produced by Sam Foster in 1929. Foster found a ready market on the beaches of Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he began selling sunglasses under the name Foster Grant from a Woolworth on the Boardwalk, per the Sunglass Museum.
Stuck under tables and desks for years and the bane of dentists’ existence, bubble gum was invented in 1928, per the Thought Company. Chewing gum has a history that spans as far back as the ancient Greeks, who chewed the resin from mastic trees. However, it wasn’t until 1928 that Walter Diemer happened upon just the right gum recipe to make the very first bubble gum, a special type of chewing gum that allows the chewer to make those big pink bubbles.
Clarence Birdseye invented frozen food in 1923, just one year after White was born. The Thought Company reported that he was simply seeking a way for his family to have fresh food all year round. He surmised that it was a practice of rapid freezing in extremely low temperatures that allowed meat to retain freshness once thawed and served months later.
The Microwave Oven
The first prototype microwave oven was invented by Percy L. Spencer, which, according to Popular Mechanics, was created by accident. In 1947, just a year after Spencer’s snack food serendipity, the first commercial microwave oven hit the market. Called the “Radarange,” it weighed nearly 750 pounds and cost more than $2,000.
Happy 97th birthday Betty White, the greatest of all the 20th-century inventions!