Many Americans are familiar with Thomas Edison’s “invention factory” in Menlo Park, where he patented the phonograph, the light bulb and more than one thousand other items. Yet many other ideas have grown in the Garden State, too. New Jerseyans brought sound and music to movies and built the very first drive-in theater. In addition to the first cultivated blueberry, tasty treats like ice cream cones and M&Ms are also Jersey natives. Iconic aspects of American life, like the batting cage, catcher’s mask and even professional baseball itself, started in New Jersey. Life would be a lot harder without the vacuum cleaner, plastic and Band-Aids, and many important advances in medicine and surgery were also developed here. Join author Linda Barth as she explores groundbreaking, useful, fun and even silly inventions and their New Jersey roots. August 2013 The History Press Publishing.