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Photo of corn and grits
Sybilla’s method of pounding corn into a course meal to be boiled created grits, which is still enjoyed today.

Before Congress passed the Patent Act in 1790, inventors filed claims for their innovations with the King of England.

In February 1837, Treasury Secretary Levi Woodbury called for information from the “most intelligent sources” to help prepare a report to Congress on the propriety of establishing a “system of telegraphs” for the United States. Of the 18 responses he received, 17 assumed that the telegraph would be optical and its motive power human. The only respondent to envision a different operating force was Samuel F. B.

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