The five groundbreaking inventions from some big thinking Illinoisans changed the world. Some maybe a little more than others.

The list of inventions from Illinois is incredibly long, but these five changed the world more than any other, in my opinion.

1. The Cell Phone

Invented by Martin Cooper in 1973 while working as the head of Motorola’s communication’s systems division in Schaumburg.

2. The Zipper

Chicago's Whitcomb L. Judson was a mechanical engineer and creator of the zipper, or what he called it, the clasp-locker. He patented the clasp-locker in August 1893 and showed off the invention later that year during The World Fair in Chicago where he was unsuccessful in his marketing efforts. Judson died in 1909 before the zipper was improved by Swedish-American engineer, Gideon Sunbach, in 1923.

3. The Mechanical Dishwasher

The expression, "born out of necessity", can be applied to many inventions, this is definitely one of those moments. Josephine Cochrane was a wealthy Shelbyville, Illinois socialite who hosted many dinner parties. It was after one of these soirees when Cochrane realized one of her servants chipped a piece of her best china - allegedly dating back to the 1600s. After assuming washing and drying duties, she loathed the time consuming task so much it drove her to develop a more efficient method of dishwashing.

4. The Pinball Machine

I'm a huge fan of this Chicago invention. If I could have any kind of arcade-style game in my home, it would be a pinball machine. We can thank Steve Kordeck for his innovations to the pinball machine in 1948, which made them less expensive to produce and gave players more control. Kordeck revolutionized pinball by inventing the two flippers that were controlled by buttons on both sides of the machine.

5. Barbed Wire

Joseph Glidden of Dekalb was granted a patent for his improved version of barbed wire fencing in November 1874. lawyers had to battle it our over who was the actual inventor, Glidden eventually won. At the time of his death in 1906, Joseph was one of the richest men in America.

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