It Came from Detroit



William Potts


Police Officer William Potts of Detroit, Michigan, decided to do something about the traffic problem. What he had in mind was figuring out a way to adapt railroad signals for street use. The railroads were already utilizing automatic controls. Potts used red, amber, and green railroad lights and about thirty-seven dollars worth of wire and electrical controls to make the world’s first automatic traffic light. It was installed in 1920 on the corner of Woodward and Michigan Avenues in Detroit. He actually invented several traffic light systems, including the overhang four-way system, but did not apply for patents.









Edward N. Hines


Widely recognized as one of the great innovators in highway development, Hines was a charter member of the Wayne County Road Commission in 1906 and was its chairman for most of the ensuing 32 years of his life. He instituted construction in 1909 of the first full mile of concrete ever built, the strip of Woodward Avenue in Detroit between Six and Seven Mile Roads. In 1911 he conceived the centerline for highways, an invention which has been called the most important single traffic safety device in the history of auto transportation. He was a national leader in the landscaping of highway right-of-way and was an organizer of the League of American Wheelmen, the forerunner of today's good-roads organizations.



first paved road in U.S.





The Coney


Coney Island hot dog (also Coney dog or Coney) refers to a hot dog made from beef with casing, topped with an all meat chili, diced yellow onion and yellow mustard. The variety was primarily developed in Jackson, Michigan. Despite the name, the "Coney Island" preparation style has little direct association with Coney Island itself beyond recognition of the birthplace of the original hot dog.


Lafayette Coney Island






Kresge opened the first Kmart store on March 1, 1962, in Garden City, Michigan and named Kmart after himself; this store is still in operation to this day. A total of eighteen Kmart stores opened that year. Kmart Foods, a now defunct chain of Kmart supermarkets, opened in that same decade.







On May 8, 1959, the dynamic husband and wife team, Mike and Marian Ilitch opened the first Little Caesars Pizza restaurant in Garden City, Michigan.




William Austin Burt


William Austin Burt (June 13, 1792 – August 18,1858)
 Burt was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and lived in Michigan from 1822 until his death in 1858.
Among Burt's numerous inventions, was the typographer in 1829, which was a predecessor to the typewriter.
The solar compass was invented by William Austin Burt; he patented it on February 25, 1836. In the 19th century, the solar compass would be employed for surveying the land, where regular compasses were susceptible to the abundances of minerals that made for inaccurate readings.

Farmer Jack stores were typically in suburban neighborhoods and usually anchored strip malls. In addition to offering standard groceries, each store operated full-service produce, floral, deli, bakery, pharmacy, meat and seafood departments. Many stores also featured a bank.


In 1959, a young businessman by the name of Art Van Elslander opened the doors to a 4,000 square foot Danish furniture showroom on Gratiot Avenue in Eastpointe, Michigan. Van Elslander found it easier to omit his last name when doing business, which eventually contributed to the naming of the store.


Big Boy is a restaurant chain started in 1936 by Bob Wian, in partnership with Arnold Peterson in Glendale, California, USA. Marriott Corporation bought the chain in 1967. One of the larger franchise operators, Elias Brothers, purchased the chain from Marriott in 1987, moving the headquarters of the company to Warren, Michigan, and operating it until declaring bankruptcy in 2000. Following the bankruptcy, the chain was sold to investor Robert Liggett, Jr., who took over as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), renamed the company Big Boy Restaurants International and kept the headquarters in Warren. The company is the franchisor for more than 455 Big Boy restaurants in the United States and Canada.


Faygo or Faygo Pop is a soft drink brand headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. It is distributed in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Central Southern regions of the United States. Faygo can be found throughout the United States and in over fifty flavors



Jiffy is a brand of baking mixes marketed by the Chelsea Milling Company in Chelsea, Michigan, that has been producing mixes since 1930. They are known for the products being packaged in a small, blue box.

Jiffy was created as the first prepared baking mix in the United States by Mabel White Holmes. The company is now run and managed by her grandson, Howdy Holmes, a former Indianapolis 500 and CART driver. The company currently employs 350 workers and produces 1.6 million boxes of its products each day.

Ziebart International Corporation is a company based in Troy, Michigan, United States, and is the worldwide franchisor of the Ziebart brand of automotive aftermarket stores. Some of the services offered by Ziebart stores include rustproofing; automobile detailing; scratch, dent, and scuff repair; window tinting; and the installation of after-market accessories.




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