Immigrants invent American staples


By Maddie Baker

Illustrated by Maddie Baker

Keith Urban once sang, “When I wake up in the mornin’ light, I pull my jeans on and I feel alright.” Pretty much everyone has at least one pair of jeans nowadays, but Levi Strauss from Germany made the first pair of jeans. Many songs include a reference to this popular piece of clothing.

For all of those who spend hours upon hours everyday on a phone, send a big thank you to Alexander Graham Bell, an immigrant from Edinburgh, Scotland. He invented the original telephone in 1876. It didn’t run on WiFi, but it did have a lot of cords.

It makes so much sense that the most famous bike race is held in France every year considering that French immigrant Pierre Lallement invented the bicycle. Fun fact: he was the first person to ever put wheels on the Dandy Horse (the frame with the wheels).

Immigrants have contributed to America’s history and culture. They have impacted the world with the inventions they have created. America wouldn’t be what it is today without the immigrants who set the foundation for American society.  

There some things that are American staples like hamburgers, hot dogs, football, baseball, bubble gum, Many people would be surprised to find that immigrants invented several iconic American items, which isn’t all that shocking considering that the United States was built on the backs of immigrants. These underrated immigrants epitomize the American dream.

The majority of cars on the roads and highways today aren’t from the U.S. Volkswagen is German, Toyota is Japanese, Fiat is Italian. England alone is responsible for BMW, Jaguar, Rolls Royce, and Bentley. Sorry, Henry Ford.

Washington D.C. is the epitome of American nationalism, yet the most patriotic tourist attraction there, the White House, was designed by James Hoban, an architect from Ireland. Jewish immigrant Irving Berlin from Belarus wrote the song “God Bless America,” another patriotic staple.

America’s sport isn’t really American at all. Football originated from rugby, a wildly popular European pastime. Rugby has a huddle up just like football, but players are only allowed to use their feet like in soccer. It also has far less equipment and padding than football, but that’s partially because rugby players don’t tackle headfirst. It’s so popular that 25 countries compete in the Rugby World Cup, excluding qualifying tournaments.

Everyone recognizes the panoramic view of NYC at the beginning of tv shows and movies. The one that features Lady Liberty , the skyscrapers, and the Brooklyn Bridge. It was German immigrant John Augustus Roebling’s designs for the Brooklyn Bridge that provided that view. Plus, the French were kind enough to gift America with the Statue of Liberty in 1886.

Speaking of the Big Apple, when in New York City, make sure to stop by the famous Coney Island hot dog stand, which was opened by German immigrant Charles Feltman after he brought frankfurters to America. It seems the world has him to thank for annual hot dog eating contests.

Just about everyone uses Google on a daily basis; it’s a lifesaver for random trivia and ten-page research reports. The phrase “google it” is now iconic by now. Well, the co-founder of Google is Sergey Mikhaylovich Brin, a Russian immigrant. He and Larry Page developed the web search engine in a rented garage.

The famous jolly man from Coke bottles and malls and movies like “Miracle on 34th Street” was originally named Sinterklaas. Dutch immigrants brought the legend of the elf Sinterklaas to America in the 17th century. Then the Swedish artist Haddon Hubbard Sundblom created the image of old St. Nick for Coca-Cola advertising