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Game-Changing Inventions Created in Florida

OJ, AC and Spring Break are among our accomplishments

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Two air conditioner units outside of a building.
Florida didn’t event humidity, but a Floridian is credited with inventing the solution to it. Pixabay

Forget “Florida Man.” The Sunshine State had a hand in creating far more interesting cultural and economic inventions. Here are five we continue to praise.

Sunscreen

Finding products that protect against the sun’s rays goes back to the ancient Egyptians who used rice bran and jasmine as a protectant.

But in the 1940s, a Miami pharmacist named Benjamin Green first used cocoa butter and coconut oil, giving birth to Coppertone and the famous Coopertone girl.

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Gatorade

Many fans of the sport drink know it was developed in the ’60s by researchers at the University of Florida to help hydrate the football team.

Gatorade today remains the giant in the sports drink industry. UF, meanwhile, continues to get royalties from its sales – about $280 million total since 1967.

Air Conditioning

The idea of artificially cooling a room goes back to the 1840s and Dr. John Gorrie in Apalachicola, who believed tropical diseases flourished in warm air.

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Gorrie cooled hospital rooms using basins of ice suspended from the ceiling. Today, the global air conditioning industry is a $106 billion industry.

Concentrated Orange Juice

Frozen concentrated OJ – where the water is removed before packaging – was developed at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center in the early 1940s.

In 1946, Minute Maid became the first concentrated orange juice shipped in the U.S., promising consumers they could make the juice in a minute.

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Spring Break

Give the ancient Greeks credit – again – for their three-day celebration of Dionysus each spring, but the modern Spring Break tradition begins in the 1930s.

A swim coach from Colgate University took his team down to Fort Lauderdale to train in 1938. The idea clicked with other colleges. The 1958 movie “Where the Boys Are” made it officially a Florida tradition.

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