Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and soon millions of people across the United States will be gathering with family, friends, and other loved ones to share a meal and make new memories. Check out these inventions that have impacted Thanksgiving dinner and read about how they were invented.

Meat Thermometer

No one wants to dig into an overcooked turkey or serve guests undercooked meat. Using a meat thermometer is the only foolproof way to check a meat’s doneness. In 1939, George E. Ford filed a patent for a meat thermometer and described it as a “to use in roasting meats to indicate when the roast is done: bi-metallic thermometer with a spacing chamber between its dial housing and the thermometer tube to facilitate the handling when inserting or withdrawing the thermometer from the meat.” The meat thermometer has been helping us cook delicious turkeys and roasts ever since!




















The corkscrew, like so many other inventions, was born out of necessity. Consumers have struggled to easily remove corks for as long as wine has been sold in glass bottles with these corks. The English quickly invented the corkscrew specifically for wine opening. Early corkscrews were usually T-shaped devices that pulled the cork. In the 1930s, the double-winged-lever corkscrew was patented, and it is still commonly used today. Since then, there have been many more innovations including, portable electric corkscrews and reusable plastic corks.

Can Opener

Thankfully, Ezra J. Warner in vented the first can opener in 1958 because for 50 years after cans went into production, people were opening them with a chisel and a hammer. Warner’s can opener design was a blade that cut into the can lid with a guard to prevent it from puncturing the can.  This first can opener left a very jagged edge, and this design was never a big hit with the public, even though it was widely used by the U.S. Army in the Civil War. Today, many people have electric can openers, but some choose to stick to the more utilitarian hand-crank designs.

Deep Fryer

Deep fried turkeys are delicious, but they can also be dangerous if not done properly. Despite many warnings, some people still insist on putting frozen or partially thawed turkeys into deep fryers, which can cause them to explode! In 1998, Rodney Barbour, patented a poultry frying apparatus which allows a whole turkey to be deep-fried in oil while minimizing the danger presented by exposure to hot oil. Deep fried turkeys, although delicious, are responsible each year for at least one person’s burning down their home from not properly handling the frying pot and burner. Be careful!

Turkey baster

It seems as if the basic idea of the turkey baster has been around for so long that there is little information available about its invention. Historians believe that the turkey baster pre-dates Thanksgiving and has been used in various cultures for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Who knew?!

The yearly Thanksgiving feast would not be like it is today without various food preparation inventions that make our lives a little easier. When you’re pondering what you’re thankful for this year, be sure to mention inventors!


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