In little more than two centuries, Americans have produced a stunning number of innovations, inventions, and new ideas that have changed everything about the way we live. What else would you expect from a nation that is, itself, a revolutionary invention! Whether or not you know the who, what, and where, you probably take most of these triumphs for granted. American Firsts celebrates the end stream of American innovations from the airbag to the zipper, from the contact lens to the can opener, from jazz to junior high. It takes an amusing, alluring, and amazing look at the creative output of inventive Americans in every field of human endeavor, including agriculture, industry, the arts, transportation, politics, communications, and much more. You'll meet the people behind each first, find out whether the invention was intentional or just a happy accident, and learn about its impact on America and the world. Some of the firsts you'll discover are: Labor savers: the typewriter, the calculator, and the microprocessor Medical breakthroughs : the MRI, Novocain, and fluoride toothpaste Safety devices: the cylinder lock, the safety elevator, and the smoke detector Appealing apparel: the brassiere, the tuxedo, and blue jeans Fun stuff: Bubble gum, the Chia Pet, and the crossword puzzle Whatever the future brings, American Firsts will show you where we've been. Stephen J. Spignesi is the author of more than 30 books, including In the Crosshairs: Famous Assassinations and Attempts.