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The Greatest Inventions in Wyoming History

William ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody, circa 1900. Photo courtesy of Hulton Archive, Getty Images.

According the Wyoming State Library, over 4,200 patents have been issued to inventors here in the Cowboy State. Here’s a look back at some of the greatest inventions in Wyoming history.

The first patent in the Territory of Wyoming was issued in 1870 to George Choate, who developed an improvement to shovel handles.

One of Wyoming’s most infamous inventions was never patented. In 1892,¬†James Julien created a more efficient way to execute criminals called the “hydraulic gallows“. In 1903, notorious outlaw and bounty hunter Tom Horn was hung from a hydraulic gallow in Cheyenne.

In 1900, Myrtle Wallin¬†became the first woman in Wyoming to recieve a patent when she fashioned a new device for seamstresses called the “work holder“.

Another Wyoming woman, Joan Sheridan, was one of our most prolific inventors, recieving over 20 patents for a variety of items including Christmas stockings.

Douglas Pederson was, arguably, Wyoming’s greatest inventor. The gun-maker recieved 69 patents during his lifetime, including the “Pederson Device“, which was an attachment secretly designed for Springfield rifles during World War I.

Wyoming’s most famous inventor was Buffalo Bill Cody. In 1916, just months before he died at the age of 70, Cody recieved a patent for a new horse bit mouthpiece.

While other Wyoming inventors have been more famous, or prolific, Elmer Lovejoy is credited with two of the Cowboy State’s most important patents. After building Wyoming’s first car, Lovejoy created a steering device that is still used by car makers today. Several years later, the Laramie native developed the first garage door opener.



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