Have you ever wondered which inventions came from Albany? Wonder no more. Check out five things invented right here in the Capital District.

  • 1

    Toilet Paper

    That's right, TP as we know it was invented in our very own backyard. In the 1890s, S. Wheeler came up with a novel idea involving this (now) everyday item: toilet paper (then referred to as "wrapping paper") should be positioned around a roll, and each sheet should have perforated edges. Wheeler then patented this innovation. What would bathroom trips have been like without S. Wheeler? Luckily, we will never have to find out. All Over Albany said it best when they said: "Modern toilet paper got its start here. Wipe proudly."

  • 2

    Potato Chips

    These thin morsels of goodness were created as somewhat of a sick joke. In the 1800s, a guest at a restaurant in the Capital Region thought the fries he ordered were too thick. The diner asked for a new, thinner batch. The cook made a second batch of thinner fries, but the customer still was not pleased. Finally, the cook, George Crum, made a batch of fries that were so thin you couldn't eat them with a fork. Crum thought he was being fresh at this point, when in fact, this thin chip was just what the customer was after. BOOM, the potato chip was born! ...And Crum's sick joke failed.

  • 3


    Okay, we didn't totally invent Christmas, but we definitely played a part in its Americanization! The first ever recorded mention of Santa Claus in the USA was found in Rensselaer newspapers, according to Amazing Albany Facts. In addition, the first celebration of the feast of St. Nicholas [in America] took place in Albany, Albany.org says. Santa Claus and the celebration of Christmas made their starts in America through Albany, NY!

  • 4

    First Passenger Railroad

    The Mohawk and Hudson River Railroad ran through Albany and Schenectady, and it happened to be the first passenger railroad in the US! Freight trains worked well for transporting items, so why couldn't trains carry people too? The invention of the passenger railroad helped bring commerce to early American cities, and they still do! Where would modern transportation be without this monumental invention?

  • 5

    High Frequency Alternator

    CBS Albany writes:

    On Christmas Eve, 1906, General Electric inventor Ernst Alexanderson broadcast the world's first radio program with song and music via his new creation, a high frequency alternator.

    What better Christmas present than the gift of RADIO? The invention of this alternator paved the way for modern communication. One man in a city in central New York was able to reach people in far away cities with the snap of a finger. We wouldn't be here without you, Ernst Alexanderson!