Firsts in the World from Pittsburgh

Firsts in the World from Pittsburgh (HM1HHW)

Location: Pittsburgh, PA 15212 Allegheny County
Country: United States of America

N 40° 26.712', W 80° 1.075'

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For two centuries Western Pennsylvania has been a cradle of invention in industry and technology in many fields, from medicine to manufacturing. The unique topography of hills and valleys required innovation in bridge-building and the transportation industry. The busy workshops and mills produced business entrepeneurs, engineers and inventors. Pittsburgh's growing population of laborers triggered firsts in hospital care, new educational programs, types of entertainment, and free public libraries. The heritage continues today in many forms, from educational programs such as Mister Rogers Neighborhood, to organ transplants, to bio-engineering research and to designing the communications network for computers.


• Steamboat, New Orleans

First to navigate western waters, 1811

• Suspension bridge

First successful wire cable bridge built by John A. Roebling, 1845

• Air brake

First used for a train, by George Westinghouse, 1869

• Gas station

First gas station opened by forerunners of Gulf Oil, Baum Boulevard, 1913

• First automobile road map

provided by Gulf Oil, 1914

• First atomic engine

Built by Westinghouse Electric for submarine U.S.S. Nautilus, 1954


• First Ferris Wheel

Invented by George Ferris, 1892/3

• First World Series in baseball

Pirates and Cubs, 1903

• First motion picture theater

Nickelodeon opened on Smithfield Street, 1905

• First professionally paid football player

William Heffelfinger, 1892


• Petroleum refining

Distilling process for petroleum, 1853/4

• First labor union

American Federation of Labor, 1881

• Aluminum

Produced commercially by forerunners of ALCOA, 1889

• First aluminum-faced skyscraper

ALCOA building, 1953


• First federal hospital in America

Hand's Hospital in Allegheny City, 1778

• Polio vaccine

Developed by Jonas Salk and staff at University of Pittsburgh, 1953

• Organ transplants

First heart, liver and kidney transplant in one operation at Presbyterian University Hospital, 1999


• Printing

First printing press to use a continuous roll of paper, 1863

• Carnegie Libraries

Free to the public, first in Braddock, PA, 1889

• First phonograph records regularly broadcast

From private garage in the East End, 1919

• First commercial radio station

KDKA, 1920


• First community supported public television station in the United States

WQED, 1954
Placed ByPA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Steel Industry Heritage Corporation, City of Pittsburgh, The Friends of the Riverfront
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 at 9:45pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17T E 583284 N 4477635
Decimal Degrees40.44520000, -80.01791667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 26.712', W 80° 1.075'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 26' 42.72" N, 80° 1' 4.5" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)412
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 481 Three Rivers Heritage Trail System, Pittsburgh PA 15212, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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