6 Cool Inventions You Didn’t Know Were Designed in Florida

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By: Anne Jones

Maybe you have guessed that the Key lime pie was invented in Florida, but what about the IBM´s first Personal Computer? The Floridians – and those who lived in the state – invented quite a few impressive things. Check out six inventions created in Florida.


1. Suntan Cream

Bejamim Green Sun Tan inventor

Invented by: Benjamin Green, 1944

The Florida-based pharmacist named Benjamin Green invented the first sunscreen lotion in 1944. Green was in the U.S. Military and wanted to develop a lotion that would protect U.S. fighters from the sun in the Pacific. His sunscreen was red and sticky and looked more like jelly than today’s white sunscreen lotions. The patent was sold to Coppertone in the early 1950’s.

2. Modern Mechanical Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology

Invented by: John Gorrie in 1851

Without air conditioning nobody would ever go to Florida, ever. In 1851, John Gorrie, a Florida resident, invented an ice-based cooling system that is widely considered an early version of the modern air conditioner. His invention was basically a box filled with ice through which air was flowing. Gorrie’s invention began with an attempt to cure Yellow Fever during an outbreak in Apalachicola. Convinced that cold was a healer, he advocated the use of ice to cool sickrooms and reduce fever. The ice was shipped by boat from northern lakes until Gorrie’s successful experimentation with the rapid expansion of gases, created refrigeration. He became a pioneer in the field of air conditioning and refrigeration by inventing a machine that made ice, and received the first U.S Patent for mechanical refrigeration in 1851.


Invented by: Robert Cade at University of Florida, 1965

The Gatorade was  invented in 1965 by physician Robert Cade at the University of Florida (UF). A team of researchers was tasked by University of Florida’s football coach to develop a drink that would help replace body fluids lost by the players in the heat of the Florida sun. The University of Florida’s football team was the “Gators” – hence the name Gatorade. The drink was first sold to the public in 1967 and in 2001 PepsiCo bought it. The Gatorade is listed by Forbes magazine as one of the world’s 40 most powerful sports brands and has annual sales of more than $4 billion. Since 1973, Gatorade has brought more than $200 million to the university, enabling the University of Florida to invest in countless research projects.

4. IBM Personal Computer

Don Estridge IBM PC

Invented by: Don Estridge, 1981

IBM’s first Personal Computer (IBM 5150) was not created in California as you may think. A team of engineers and designers under the direction of Don Estridge created the IBM 5150 in the IBM Entry Systems Division located in Boca Raton, Florida. The first IBM PC was introduced to the market in August 12, 1981.

The generic term “personal computer” was in use before 1981, applied as early as 1972 to the Xerox PARC’s Alto, but because of the success of the IBM Personal Computer, the term “PC” came to mean more specifically a desktop microcomputer compatible with IBM’s PC products.


5. Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice

Orange Concentrate Juice Machine

Invented by: University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center, 1947

This cheap alternative to most orange juices was developed at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center in 1948 to provide better tasting juice to soldiers. The product  became a huge hit.

6. Bondo

Bondo Putty



Invented by: Robert Merton Spink, 1955

Anybody who has ever sold a junky car has probably used Bondo to patch all the rusted out spots. The first filler for car bodies without toxic lead was invented in 1955 by Miami automotive repair shop owner Robert Merton Spink.

Anne Jones Journalist

Anne Jones is a freelance writer with broad experience in reporting about fashion, lifestyle and entertainment

11 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. What about the Floridian inventor that filed a lawsuit accusing 3M of falsely misrepresenting itself as the inventor of the Post It. He claims to be inventor of it.

  2. Florida also has Famous Amos Chocolate Chip cookies. For a brief moment in time, when folks used AOL, Yahoo, MSN, and IRC to chat, Kevin Kurtz invented Trillian, so you only had to use one program for all of your chatting needs.

  3. Air conditioning ruined Florida! 90 degrees and 90% humidity used to keep the riff raff out. You had to really love Florida to live here without ac. Now anyone, even non-beach people can sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic in the comfort of their air conditioned cars.

  4. I live in Florida but I had no idea about most of those inventions. Thanks for this informative post. Appreciate it !!!

  5. Florida is a very cool place, somehow everything that is meaningful have a Florida connection at some point. You forgot to mention the Incandescent lightbulb.

  6. I really enjoy this article. Thomas Edison was at his winter home in Fort Myers, FL, while he was developing the incandescent light bulb. We can also claim that it was partially invented in Florida.

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