The famous ring binder that we all come into contact with at least once a week (or daily if in school) is a German invention – and a relatively recent one, at that. Friedrich Soennecken invented it in Bonn, Germany, in 1886. The same year he also patented the hole punch (he must have seen Thomas Edison snooping around). The great innovation of adding a hole to the cover was also introduced by a German: Louis Leitz. Interestingly, there is an ISO standard for the distance between the two rings on a double-ring binder, but no official standard for three ring binders.
The Gingerbread house was first noted in the Grimm’s Fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel, and followed in a little known German opera by the same title. After the show was first produced only days before Christmas, it became a holiday tradition in German Opera houses to build miniature replicas of the gingerbread house from the story. The tradition then spread to bakeries and, eventually, to homes.
Ha, take that one, you “American white trash” stereotypers! The pre fab home – oh come on, let’s just call them like they are – the trailer home was invented by Warner Sell of Berlin. After WWII, there was a need for places to house the U.S. forces occupying the area. Sell’s company manufactured over 5000 prefabricated houses, and the soldier boys lived it up in high style!
American Picnic Items
Just about all the ingredients to make a perfect ‘All-American’ picnic come from German origins. There is the hot dog, or a Frankfurter: a pork sausage that finds its origins in 13th century Germany. Then, you can’t forget the condiments. Ketchup, which was developed by Heinz, and Mayonnaise, developed by Hellman, both German immigrants. Of course some of those items are based off earlier recipes (Ancient Rome: ketchup; France: mayonnaise) but the favorites eaten today are definitely German. Then, of course, there is the Potato Salad. Although there are many different versions to this dish, one of the most popular variations is the tradition German potato salad.