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Pittsburgh - A City of Firsts and number ones


Here is a list of things that were invented in Pittsburgh, started in Pittsburgh or where Pittsburgh was number one or ahead of most of the pack:

  • 1985 and 2007: Places Rated Almanac: “Most Livable City in the US”.
  • 2005, 2009, and 2011: The Economist: “most livable city in the United States”.
  • 2010: Forbes and Yahoo!: “most livable city in the United States”.
  • 2011: Economist Intelligence Unit: “top place to live in the United States”.
  • Pittsburgh has 446 bridges - more than Venice.  Allegheny County has more than 1,700.
  • Canton Avenue in Beechview outside Pittsburgh is the steepest officially recorded public street in the United States.
  • Roslyn Place is a short wooden block pavement (Nicolson Pavement) cul-de-sac built in 1914 in Shadyside West of Pittsburgh.  It is the only street in the United States entirely paved in accordance with the Nicolson paving techniques.
  • 1869: George Westinghouse patents the first practical air brake for railroads.
  • 1889: The first Carnegie Library in the USA opens.
  • 1893: The first Ferris Wheel designed and built by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. as the centerpiece of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  George Ferris was not born in Pittsburgh, but began his career in the railroad industry in Pittsburgh.
  • 1903: The Pittsburgh Pirates lose to the Boston in the First World Series in Major League Baseball; 4 games played in Allegheny (now Northside of Pittsburgh).
  • 1904: The world’s first banana split served in Latrobe, PA (outside Pittsburgh) by David Evans Strickler.  Other cities lay claim to this, too.
  • 1905: The Nickelodeon, the world’s first theater devoted to motion pictures by Harry Davis and John P. Harris, opens on Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh.
  • 1909: Forbes Field, the first baseball stadium, opens in Pittsburgh.  The Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • 1913: The first gas station in the US, built by Gulf Refining Company, opens in Pittsburgh.
  • 1918: Daylight Savings Time introduced in the US.  Robert Garland, industrialist and Pittsburgh city councilman, is known as the “father” of daylight saving time in the US.
  • 1920: KDKA in Pittsburgh becomes the first commercial radio station in the US.
  • 1920s: Bingo invented by Hugh J. Ward in Pittsburgh.
  • 1921.  KDKA broadcasts the first religious service from Calvary Episcopal Church by remote broadcast.
  • 1926: Groundbreaking of the Cathedral of Learning in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh as the world’s first university skyscraper.
  • 1952: The first effective and safe polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk and his team at the University of Pittsburgh.  Salk’s vaccine is inactivated polio while previous vaccines were a live attenuated virus.
  • 1952: Pittsburgh’s Alcoa Building completed. It is the first all-aluminum skyscraper, 30 stories tall, with thin stamped aluminum exterior panels.
  • 1954: WQED is the first community-sponsored educational television station in the US.  WQED will be known for producing “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”.
  • 1957: The Shippingport Atomic Power Station outside Pittsburgh is the world's first full-scale atomic electric power plant devoted exclusively to peacetime uses.
  • 1961: Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena, the first retractable roof major-sports venue in the world, opens.
  • 1962: Pittsburgh’s Alcoa develops pull tabs for cans and, together with Pittsburgh’s Iron Brewing Company, introduces Iron City Beer in easy-to-open aluminum cans with pull tabs.
  • 1965: Jim Delligatti creates the First Big Mac at his McDonald’s franchise in Ross Township North of Pittsburgh.  It was introduced in Pittsburgh under the name Big Mac in 1967 after the introduction failed the names “Aristocrat” and “Blue Ribbon Burger”.
  • 1971: Dr. Richard Moriarty, a pediatrician and clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, creates the “Mr. Yuk” sticker to replace the skull and crossbones that he found were not effective enough with children.
  • 1971: Game 4 of the 1971 World Series was the first World Series Night Game. The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Baltimore Orioles at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.
  • 1979: The first robotics department at any U.S. university is established at Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh.  It offered the first Ph.D. in robotics in 1988.
  • 1979: Century III Mall was the third largest shopping mall in the world when it opened.
  • 1982: Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist Scott Fahlman creates the Smiley emoticon :-) for “joke markers” and its frowny equivalent :-( for the first time.
  • 1989: Under the direction of Drs. John Armitage, Saturo Todo and Ronald Shapiro at the Presbyterian-University Hospital in Pittsburgh, a 26-year-old woman, Cindy Martin, underwent a heart-liver-kidney transplant.
  • 2009: The Pittsburgh Steelers are first team to win 6 Super Bowls.

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Pin these for later:

Pittsburgh Travel Guide showing the Point State Park Fountain
Pittsburgh Travel Guide showing the Roberto Clemente Bridge over the Allegheny River
Pittsburgh Travel Guide showing an aerial view of the Golden Triangle
Pittsburgh Travel Guide showing Randyland

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