George Washington Packer's patented rock and stump pullers, Mystic

George Washington Packer’s patented rock and stump pullers, Mystic, ca. 1870
– Mystic Seaport and Connecticut History Online

Nutmeg ingenuity ranges from seemingly humble innovations that have changed the way we live to first-of-a-kind inventions. In the 19th century, for example, Elisha Root’s die casting techniques helped usher in standardized mass manufacturing, which, in turn, often lowered prices so that more consumers could afford items once reserved for the well-to-do. Other notable Connecticut inventors include Mary Kies (the first woman to receive a US patent), Samuel Colt, and even Mark Twain. More recently, teams of researchers in corporate and university settings have pioneered medical, technological, and other advances. One of the state’s best-known “firsts” is the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine.

More on Invention and Technology from the CT Digital Archive

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Dr. Sheffield's creme dentifrice box

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Taking advantage of his skills as a dentist and chemist, Dr. Washington Wentworth Sheffield, in 1850 at the age of 23, invented modern toothpaste. …[more]

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Connecticut State Library, Museum of Connecticut History. “Connecticut Patents Project,” 2016. Link.


“American Clock & Watch Museum,” 2017. Link.
Connecticut Science Center. “Invention Dimension,” 2012. Link.
“The Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop,” 2016. Link.
Connecticut State Library. “The Museum of Connecticut History,” 2012. Link.


Faude, Wilson H., and Joan W. Friedland. Connecticut Firsts. Chester, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 1978.
Roe, Joseph Wickham, and Tercentenary Commission of the State of Connecticut. Connecticut Inventors. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1934.
Kuslan, Louis I. Connecticut Science, Technology, and Medicine in the Era of the American Revolution. Hartford, CT: American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Connecticut, 1978.
Thibodeau, Patrick. New Britain: The City of Invention: An Illustrated History. Chatsworth, CA: Windsor Publications, 1989.