Every time you gulp down a Slurpee, thank the Lone Star State. Back in 1927, Southland Ice Company employee “Uncle Johnny” Jefferson Green started selling staples (think milk, bread, eggs) at the company’s pop-up ice house storefronts. The grocery items were such a hit that the company rolled the idea out to its 21 retail docks, and the convenience store was born! The ice docks eventually evolved into Tote’m Stores, which were later renamed 7-Eleven — to reflect the stores’ original operating hours — in 1946.
2. Frozen Margaritas
Yes, margaritas originated in Mexico. But in 1971, Dallas restauranteur Mariano Martinez retrofitted a soft-serve machine, poured in some margarita mix, and out came what is now one of America’s favorite drinks. Fun fact: In 2005, the National American History Museum acquired Martinez’s original machine.
Former inner-city school teacher Sheryl Leach brought Barney to life in 1987 when she saw a gap in the preschool home video market. It wasn’t until 1992 that Barney became a cultural phenomenon, when PBS stations across the country started broadcasting Leach’s videos. The series stopped production in 2009, but was filmed all over the Dallas area — which explains why Dallas natives Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato were part of the cast.
4. Breast Implants
In 1962, two Houston doctors changed the world…of cosmetic surgery, at least. Frank Gerow and Thomas Cronin developed silicone breast implants in hopes they would become the go-to for reconstructive surgeries. They are, but they’re also used in cosmetic augmentations around the world — more than 1.5 million women got boob jobs in 2012.
5. Whole Foods
6. The Super Bowl
The concept of the NFL championship wasn’t born in Texas, but its name was. Well, born of a Texan, so it counts. American Football League founder Lamar Hunt, who called Dallas home, coined the term “Super Bowl” in a NFL owners meeting in the 1960s — but it wasn’t printed on game tickets until 1970. Hunt said he must’ve subconsciously been thinking about his children’s Wham-O Superballs when it slipped out. The rest is history.
8. The Modern ATM
The first automatic teller machines (you guys, that’s what ATM actually stands for!) made its American debut in New York in 1969 — but all it could do was dispense cash. ATMs as we know them today, with depositing capabilities, account balance information, etc., were the brainchild of Don Wetzel, an executive at Dallas-based baggage handling firm Docutel. Wetzel’s networked version of the ATM made its debut in 1971, and today there are more than 1 million versions of Wetzel’s machine around the world.
9. The Microchip
You like your smartphone, right? And your computer? You obviously like the internet — you’re on it right now. Well, thank Texas. Texas Instruments, the Dallas-based electronics powerhouse, rocked the world in 1959 when it introduced the microchip at the Radio Engineers’ annual trade show in New York. No one knew it at the time, though — it would take years for the integrated circuit to become the foundation of, well, pretty much every technological innovation we know and love today.
10. Liquid Paper
13. Shopping Centers
14. Corn Dogs
Where else would the ultimate fair food have gotten its start but in Texas? Brothers Carl and Neil Fletcher sold the first “Fletcher’s Corny Dog” at the State Fair of Texas in 1942. Since then, everyone from Julia Child to Oprah has taken a bite of the battered treat.
15. Dr Pepper
Coca-Cola might be king, but Dr Pepper is at least prince, right? Dr Pepper Snapple Group is the country’s oldest manufacturer of soft drink syrups — and it got its start in Waco, Texas, back in 1885 (Coca-Cola wasn’t a thing until a year later). Originally sold at the Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store soda fountain, Dr Pepper went national in 1904, when it was introduced at the World’s Fair in St. Louis.