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A HISTORY OF INNOVATION — Ohio has been at the forefront of business and industry for much of its history
Orville and Wilbur Wright, from Dayton, developed wing designs for an airplane, and on December 17, 1903, successfully flew their powered aircraft. Their fledgling technology soon revolutionized the world. Today, Ohio has over 37,000 employees working in the private aerospace and aviation industry.
John Glenn, from Cambridge, was the first to orbit the Earth. Neil Armstrong, from Wapakoneta, was the first to walk on the Moon. Judith Resnik, from Akron, was the second woman in space. Today, the NASA Glenn Research Center, near Cleveland, runs over 500 specialized research and test facilities.
John W. Lambert, from Mechanicsburg, built the first gas-powered, single-cylinder auto. Alexander Winton, from Cleveland, made the first commercial sale. Charles Kettering and team invented the first self-starter. Today, Ohio’s network of automotive companies, research resources and organizations are designing, testing and working to deploy smart mobility initiatives, vehicles and technology.
From Milan, Edison holds 1,093 patents, more than any other American. Three of Edison’s most famed inventions are the light bulb, the phonograph, and the kinetoscope, an early version of a film projector. Edison’s inventions forever changed the way American’s work and live.
Energy and Chemical
While at DuPont Chemical Company, Charles Kettering, from Loudonville, was responsible for Freon, used in refrigeration and air conditioning systems. Roy J. Plunkett, from New Carlisle, discovered Teflon in 1938. Today, along with DuPont, many companies along the energy supply chain have made their homes in the Buckeye State.
By 1950, Akron, Ohio was the "Rubber Capital of the World." Among the large-scale rubber producers to have factories in the area were B.F. Goodrich, Goodyear, and Firestone. Today, Ohio is #1 in glass, plastics, and rubber manufacturing. Ohio is a leader in advanced manufacturing and the state’s workforce is the third largest in the country.
Many early residents ventured into industrialization with industries and factories based on Ohio's agricultural roots. Today, over 15 million acres of farmland contribute $107 billion to the state’s economy. Food and agribusiness is our largest industry, boasting hundreds of companies that cultivate, process, package, distribute and market food and drinks enjoyed by consumers around the world.