10 Surprising Things Invented By Jewish People

May 23, 2014  

Jews invented monotheism, and even, with the advent of Christianity, a second religion in addition to their own, but we did not stop there. The world has Jews to thank for many other inventions of all kinds. Here are ten things you didn’t know were invented by Jews.


10. Barbie

“Funny, you don’t look Jewish,” is a phrase that could have been invented specifically for Barbie. Although a tall, leggy blonde with preternaturally blue eyes, the doll was invented by a Jewish mother from Denver named Ruth Handler.



9. Remote Control

Like keys, it’s only when you can’t find your remote control that you realize how much you need it. As such a quotidian fixture, it’s easy to take the remote for granted, but we shouldn’t. And the man we have to thank for inventing it in 1950 is an Austrian-Jewish refugee named Robert Adler.



8. Disc Records

The inventor and businessman Emile Berliner, a German Jewish immigrant to America, revolutionized the world by inventing the microphone and the gramophone. In 1887, he patented the gramophone, went to make and market his disc records, opened the world’s first record store, and helped to launch the record industry.



7. The Flexible Straw

Humans have been drinking through tubes for thousands of years. But it took a Jew to reinvent the drinking tube in the 1930s. As he watched his young daughter, Judith, struggle to drink a milkshake through an inflexible and too-tall straw, Joseph Friedman, a lifelong inventor, saw the need for a new product. So it was the Flexible Straw Corporation was born, and little kids no longer needed to struggle over big drinks.



6. Videotape

If video truly did kill the radio star, one Jew is guilty as charged. In 1952, inventor Charles Ginsburg began work on what would become US patent number 2,956,114: the world’s first effective videotape recorder (VTR). His invention lead to the video cassette recorder (VCR), first sold by Sony in 1971, which just happened to work nicely with the also-invented-by-a-Jew remote control.



5. Birth Control Pill

While the originator of the term “birth control” was Catholic and, thankfully, a woman—Margaret Sanger—she persuaded a Jewish biologist, Dr. Gregory Pincus, to develop a birth control pill. While Pincus and colleagues worked on it in the United States, two other Jewish émigré scientists and a non-Jewish colleague (Carl Djerassi, George Rosenkranz and Luis Miraontes) were developing an oral contraceptive in Mexico. All together, Jews had a seminal influence on the birth control pill.



4. The Biro Pen

When something is named for you, you’ve done something right. Working with his brother Gyorgy, Laszlo Biro developed a new, easy to use ballpoint pen commonly known as a biro. Although they had to flee Budapest for Buenos Aires in 1943, the Biros’ name lives on around the world as the inventors of the eponymous pen.



3. Holographic Photography

Hologram Tupac would not have been able to creepily appear at Coachella without a Hungarian Jew named Dennis Gabor. Gabor fled Hungary for London in 1933, where he invented holography in 1947. His new technique made history and won him many awards, including the 1971 Nobel Prize for Physics.



2. Jeans

The word denim comes from the French de Nîmes—Nîmes being the town in which it was first produced—but jeans have become synonymous with Levi’s—the name of Levi Strauss. Himself a German-Jewish immigrant to the US, Levi Strauss invented the quintessentially American blue jeans. And the company that bears his name still leads the market today, over 150 years later.



1. Polaroid

Everyone Instagrams today, but in 1948 a new product revolutionized photography. For the first time, snappers could take a picture and develop it within a minute. This was thanks to a Connecticut Jew, Edwin Land, who invented a way for the camera to polarize light and founded the Polaroid Corporation.

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  1. By IsraeliGirl143, May 27, 2014

    Thank goodness they invented Barbie, I love her!

  2. By maccabette, May 28, 2014

    I met Ruth Handler in junior high. She came to visit our class. Such a lovely lady!

  3. By heyjules, June 18, 2014

    So the Jews the pretty much invented everything important.

    • By Anonymous, September 10, 2015

      Yeah, because Barbie dolls surpass the importance of Algebra or literally everything that hasn’t be created by the kikes, which is basically everything.


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