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June 12, 2024 33 mins

Once Dr. Ray Damadian had the idea to create a machine that used nuclear magnetic resonance to capture diagnostic data by scanning a human body, he still had to build it. And though he did, other scientists got credit for inventing the MRI.  


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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to Stuff You Missed in History Class, a production
of iHeartRadio. Hello, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Holly Frye.

Speaker 2 (00:14):
And I'm Tracy V.

Speaker 1 (00:15):
Wilson, and this is a continuation of our two part
episode on the invention of the MRI and the arguments
around who invented it gap And when we left off
on part one, doctor Ray Damadian had filed for a
patent on his idea to create a machine that used
nuclear magnetic resonance to capture diagnostic data by scanning a

human body, but he had not yet built it. So
we're going to pick right up from that point today.
So I'm just going to tell you now, if you
didn't listen to part one, go back and get all
of the baseline groundwork that had to be done in
physics before we can get to this point. I would say,
we have two partters where you can get the second
part if the first part, but I.

Speaker 2 (00:58):
Would say not, this is not one.

Speaker 1 (01:00):
This is one.

Speaker 2 (01:01):
You need part one before part two.

Speaker 1 (01:03):
Yeah, you do. And so then today's episode is going
to take us through the building of the first MRI machine,
how changes were made to the methodology that that machine used,
and into the very recent past, as people have continued
to hash out who exactly should get credit for the
invention of the MRI Raymond's Madian was completely enthusiastic about

the possibilities of magnetic scanning technology, and once he had
filed for a patent, he set out to build a
working body scanner. But this is definitely not something that
other people believed in right away. To a lot of people,
it just seemed too far beyond imagining to think there
would ever be a way to scan an entire living person.

Damadian later recounted quote, going from the first test of
the experiment to construction of Indomitable and the first human scan,
we had significant numbers of people forecasting that it was
beyond any prospect of going from a tiny test tube
to a human body and overcoming all the technological obstacles. Then,
to be clear, this was a huge jump in how

NMR could be used. It is one thing to analyze
a very small sample that's been collected and can be
contained in a test tube, very different thing to analyze
a living human body. This like comes up all the
time in like medical developments. Where something works in a
Petri dish, will it work in a full human being. Yeah,

And the first big obstacle to building this machine, which
Domitian referenced in that quote by its name Indomitable, was
building a magnet big enough that a person could fit
inside of it. He and a small team eventually managed
to make one, using an estimated thirty miles of neobium
titanium wire wrapped on a cylinder to create their superconductor.

The Indomitable also so had a helium cooling system, but
that was problematic. It leaked. It started to become really
expensive to maintain. One estimate said that it was racking
up maintenance expenses at roughly eight thousand dollars a month,
which is an awful lot for one component of a
machine when you were trying to be a startup and

get this off the ground. This homemade MRI would look
both familiar and a little bit alien to anyone who
has had an MRI recently. The subject was moved into
it on a platform, just like the way you would
be today, but that platform was made of wood, and
the scanny also had to wear an antenna coil that

was built onto a cardboard vest. It looks very kind
of nineteen fifty sci fi when you see pictures of
the first people doing this. The information from that antenna
then traveled to an oscilloscope, which then parsed and fed
the information to a mini computer, and that mini computer
could take that information and generate an INMA image.

Speaker 2 (04:01):
Once this machine was built, Tomadian was eager to be
its first test subject. That meant nobody needed to get
permission or approval from the school's administration. Had they been
looking for a volunteer from outside the team, there would
have been red tape involved. But once Tomaidian bravely entered
the Indomitable on May eleventh, nineteen seventy seven, nothing happened.

The team was completely dejected. Damadian came to the conclusion
that he had too much body fat insulating his tissues
and the coil they were using could not get a
signal through it. As they worked on the machine. Over
the next few weeks, ray Tomadian's health was closely monitored,
but he never showed any kind of sign of like

side effects from this experiment. Yeah, they came to the
conclusion that their coil and antenna were not strong enough,
but they couldn't really backtrack and rebuild that part, so
they were just trying to figure out how they could
go forward, and then once the team ready for another test,
it was Larry Minkoff, who was a graduate student working Underdamadian,
who volunteered.

Speaker 1 (05:06):
He had been the one monitoring Damadian for any possible
problems after the first test, and he was very confident
it was safe. He also was a very slender gentleman,
so they were not as worried about that issue of
body fat blocking the signal from coming through. And so
he got into the MRI and it took five hours,
but it worked. The resulting image was really rudimentary, though.

The team actually had to reconstruct it by drawing it
out with colored pencils and then to get a quick image,
and then a computer generated version was made using data
points that were collected during the scan. There were one
hundred and six data points that had to be used.
But again this is in the seventies, so when we
say computer generated, this is very different than what you

might think of today.

Speaker 2 (05:53):
Damadian founded the Phone Arc Corporation on the heels of
that first successful scan, with the intent to start building
scanners to market to the medical community. He later noted
his excitement about this technology in an interview stating quote,
once we had been able to see that scanning the
human body was real and could be accomplished, you wanted

to be part of that. You didn't want to be
just a shoreline observer. As the ship sailed off into
the horizon, and Domadian scans were pretty incredible. This was
a huge advance over anything that had existed before. But
if you look at one of those early scans, even
after it had been rendered by a computer with all

of those data points, it still looks very rudimentary compared
to what you would see an MRI do today. The
images are very blocky with very little detail. It's kind
of like if you had an MRI done by Minecraft.
While Domitian announced after this that they had created a
way to detect cancer anywhere in the human body, detractors

noted that the generated image could easily be misinterpreted because
it was so crude, and also that a bias from
excitement over this new tech could play a part in
an incorrect interpretation. But Domanian had never really stated in
his patent or in his research notes that what he
was after was imagery. He was after data, and then

that data could be used to create visual images. But
the biggest problem in all of it was that there
was this degree of guesswork involved in the whole thing.
Sometimes it wasn't really clear where precisely the information that
they were using was coming from in the human body.
So while it was possible to see that there was,

for example, unhealthy tissue clearly pinpointing that unhealthy tissue's location
was not exactly guaranteed. As Domadian and his team were
working on the Indomitable, another scientist, Paul Lauderber, was working
out his own way to make use of Domadian's early ideas.
Paul Lauderber was born in Sydney, Ohio, on May sixth,

nineteen twenty nine. He described his childhood home as full
of animals dogs and then quote birds, turtles, fish, snakes,
and other animals, and surrounded by outdoor places where he
played and explored. His father was an engineer who was
part owner of a company that built machinery for bakeries,
and his mother was a housewife. Paul attended parochial school,

which he later said he didn't have much memory of.
He had an aunt on his father's side named Anna Lauderber,
who was a teacher. She got him interested in natural history,
and he wrote later in his life that she was
his favorite aunt. Yeah, he really makes it sound like
she was one of those people that really turned on
his brain to the idea of like exploring things you

see in the natural world and figuring out what they
are and how they work. After attending public high school,
Lauderber went on to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio,
where he studied chemistry, although his father had really hoped
he would major in engineering instead, but after he got
his Bachelor of Science, Lauderbird described being quote tired of

lectures and professors and determined to go back to lab work.
He got a job with Dow Corning, specifically at their
lab at the Melon Institute, which came with the opportunity
to take graduate courses at the University of Pittsburgh for
free if you wanted. He did eventually take some of those.
He mentions in some of his writing that he kind
of got over his chagrin over academia and was like, yeah, sure,

I'll take some more classes. But it was while he
was with Dow Corning that he learned about nuclear magnetic resonance.
He later wrote of his early interest in NMR, quote
it seemed ideally suited, even at that early date, for
investigating the structure and electron distributions in molecules and various
physical properties of materials. Therefore, as part of my graduate

education at the University of Pittsburgh, in addition to a
literature seminar on interstellar molecules, I gave one on a
paper describing NMR properties of rubber before I could begin
a planned collaboration on the hydrogen NMR spectroscopy of silicon compounds. However,
my deferments came to an end and I was drafted

into the Army. When his time in the military ended,
he returned to the Mellon Institute, in part because they
offered to buy him an NMR machine of his own
to work with. He immediately started research with it, starting
with a survey of carbon compounds. He used that work
to complete his PhD, which opened up more professional opportunities,

and soon he was offered an associate professor job at
the State University of New York at Stonybrook that also
let him set up an NMR lab. Coming up, we'll
talk about the chance event that led Lauderbird to start
thinking about the use of NMR as a medical diagnostic tool.
But first we're going to pause for a sponsor break.

During this period in Lauderber's life, he observed a postdoc
named Leon Serian that was essentially recreating and repeating Ray
Damadian's rat tissue experiments, comparing the NMR relaxation times between
healthy tissues and tumorous tissues. Laiber wrote of this experience quote,
I was there to observe the experiments and noted that

large and consistent differences were observed for specimens from all
parts of the sacrificed animals, and that the experiments seemed
well done. Some individuals were speculating that similar measurements might
supplement or replace the observations of cell structure in tissues
by pathologists, but the invasive nature of the animal procedure
was distasteful to me. The data too complex and the

sources of differences to obscure to be relied upon for
medical decisions. As I pondered the problem that evening, I
realized that there might be a way to locate the
precise origins of NMR signals in complex objects, and hence
to form an image of their distributions in two or
even three dimensions. Building on that idea. In nineteen seventy three,

Paul Latiber coined the term zoomatography. He created a two
dimensional image using gradients in the magnetic field, and then
he started essentially stacking the two D images that were
produced to create three D ones. He was solving a
problem that was inherent in Damadian's method of capturing data,
that problem of uncertainty regarding location of the source of

an NMR signal. Laiber wrote a paper on this method
of using NMR titled image Formation by Induced Local Interactions
Examples employing Nuclear magnetic resonance. His work was much more
focused on getting an image than just collecting data, an
important departure from Domadian's word work. When he submitted that

paper to Nature, it was initially rejected. Lauderber resubmitted with
an explanatory cover letter and was asked to edit his
paper to draw a more direct line to the possible
applications of his method. That year, there was also a
development going on across the Atlantic at the University of Nottingham.

Sir Peter Mansfield realized that changing the magnetic field would
reveal a chemical's anatomic structure. This was actually pretty similar
to the work that Lauderber was doing, but Mansfield hadn't
read or even known about Louderber's paper. This is kind
of a bit of an echo of the way that
Block and Purcel, which we talked about in the first
part of this were both coming to similar conclusions through

slightly different routes.

Speaker 1 (13:45):
Three decades earlier. Mansfield had also been doing work that
shortened the length of time required for an MRI. That's
called the echo planar method today, which captured all of
the data from a two D plane after just a
single magnet pulse, rather than just a section of a
two D plane at a time. So it wasn't like
you had to do any image in a segment of

several pieces. You could do it all in one go.
Mansfield is credited with tightening up the mathematics needed to
significantly improve the MRI machin's data analysis in nineteen eighty
Demadian's phone Ar Corporation introduced the first commercially available MRI
machine in nineteen eighty five, just one year after the

Food and Drug Administration approved the use of MRI, phone
R produced a mobile version of an MRI machine. This
variation enabled MRIs to be performed on patients when moving
them was too risky. They can be used in ambulances
and emergency scenarios outside of a hospital, like when there's
a disaster or another event. Almost as soon as MRI

machines started to be adopted by the medical community, the
term nuclear magnetic resonance shifted and started to be called
magnetic resonance imaging. This, according to a New York Times
write up, got away from the potentially problematic nuclear association.
This is not what it meant, really, but it could
be associated with like nuclear power and nuclear weapons, all

of this going on during the Cold War right.

Speaker 2 (15:19):
The use of imaging also meant that this folded in
nicely to the field of radiology.

Speaker 1 (15:25):
Also in nineteen eighty five, doctor Paul C. Lauderber was
one of the recipients of the LASCAR Medical Research Award,
which since nineteen forty five has recognized what are believed
to be the greatest contributions to medical science each year.
The LASCAR Awards are sometimes called the American Nobels, and
they are considered to be to some degree a predictor

of Nobel candidates. When Lauderber won his, he was recognized
alongside the three man team of doctor Caesar Milstein, doctor
George JF. Koehler, and doctor Michael Potter for their work
that they had done in antibodies. And in addition to
those four men already mentioned, nineteen eighty five is also
the year the doctor Henry J. Heimlich received a LASCAR

Award for his food ejection technique. So it's kind of
an interesting time when all of these pieces of medical
science are being developed at the same moment.

Speaker 2 (16:16):
Yeah, I've thought about doing a Heimlich episode, but number one,
that's like a bit more recent nineteen eighty five than
normal than we typically cover. And then also I just
I didn't quite come together anyway. But even in the
New York Times write up about Latiber's award, they mentioned
doctor Domadian stating quote, while many specialists give doctor Latderber

chief credit for introducing NMR as a diagnostic tool, doctor
Raymond Damadian of the Downstate Medical Center of the State
University of New York has developed an alternate approach called
field focused NMR or phone R. Its imaging method differs
from that in the widely used devices based.

Speaker 1 (16:58):
On doctor Lauderber's work. This reference to Domdian having done
work in the field that didn't receive the award is
a little bit of a harbinger of something that would
happen twenty years later, which we will talk about in detail.
In nineteen eighty eight, both Domadian and Lauderber were honored
with the National Medal of Technology for their work on

MRI tech. This entire debate about all of these issues
and their two different approaches is complicated by the fact
that Fonar actually adopted Luderber's method of capturing images. Domadian
still claimed ownership of the idea of the machine, but
Louderber's work had pretty clearly made the machine more useful

and marketable. Doctor Raymond Domadian was also inducted into the
National Inventors Hall of Fame in nineteen eighty nine.

Speaker 2 (17:49):
Almost as soon as Foonar introduced its machines, other companies
started working on their own, but Raymond Damadian was very,
very protective of his patents and he went after anyone
he believed was infringing on them. Hitachi, Johnson and Johnson, Siemens,
Phillips Electronics, and General Electric were all companies that developed

MRI machines, and Fonar and Damadian went after all of them.
Many of these cases dragged on for years. Eventually, all
of them but one came to out of court settlements,
with Domadian and his company receiving some sort of payout,
although the details of those settlements remained private. The one
holdout was General Electric, which claimed that it had been

developing its imaging concepts quote from the beginning, whatever that meant.

Speaker 1 (18:42):
I read that statement and I was like, what's the beginningning.

Speaker 2 (18:48):
A major setback happened in nineteen eighty six, though, when
a judgment in favor of Domadian in a dispute with
Johnson and Johnson was overturned in federal court.

Speaker 1 (18:58):
Then in nineteen ninety seven, when Foennar and General Electric
were still locked in a legal battle about patent rights,
and it had gone to the US Court of Appeals
for the Federal Circuit. On June thirtieth of that year,
the appeal did not rule in favor of General Electric,
and ultimately GE was found to be in violation of
Domadian's patent rights and was ordered to pay one hundred

and twenty eight million. This was a huge deal, and
it was huge news at the time. This bolstered Domadian's
company in two ways. For one, it meant they got
a massive financial bump when they really needed it. The
company had never really been profitable, and the work that
they were doing to develop new versions of MRIs that
they had on the drawing board was very expensive, so

they really needed that financial backing. But it also cemented
Damadian's status as the originator of the idea, even if
the methodology of it had shifted in the wake of
Lauderber's work, and Lauderber hadn't successfully patented any of his developments.
He had tried and had some rejected, and he was

working from within an academic institution that thought that pursuing
those patents would be.

Speaker 2 (20:07):
More trouble than it was worth. He told The New
York Times in nineteen ninety seven, quote, I was working
on images, so the question of the relationship between relaxation
times and cancer was irrelevant. He also told the press
that he had tried to work things out with Domadian,
but that Ray had not wanted to because he felt

his claim was clearly supported and there was nothing to
work out.

Speaker 1 (20:32):
Yeah, there's definitely a weird vibe that we could talk
about in behind the scenes, where Lauderber is trying to
just be like I don't know. I'm cool with it,
Like Ray was really focused on this thing and I wasn't,
and I to this moment don't really know how I
feel about any of it, but we'll talk about it.

That nineteen ninety seven ruling led also to a lot
of press for Domadian, and he talked about how he
was going to span the business with that money, working
on making MRIs less expensive for both hospitals to acquire
and for patients to have done their numbers in there.
That we'll talk about him behind the scenes because I
kind of cracked up again having had one of these recently.

Did not get cheaper than what he was talking about then,
for sure. He also talked a lot about patent law,
which really became a passion for him. He was adamant
when it came to the importance of defending patents. He
even went to Congress to convince members of Congress not
to weaken patent laws. He told the New York Times quote,

with their marketing and financing strength, big companies don't need
to risk doing things first. For entrepreneurs to keep taking risks,
they need temporary exclusive rights to their inventions. And in
two thousand and one, interview, Jamadian noted, quote, curiosity is
a major driving force, and the same delight that a
child has at seeing something new for the first time.

He was always there for someone in a scientific career.
When I got into the scientific arena and saw the
prospect of developing a new kind of medical machine, I
enjoyed the process of waiting right into it and getting
directly involved in building such a thing. At that point,
as company was working to innovate the MRI even further

by creating a machine that allowed the patient to sit upright.
Everyone at this point in the early two thousands seemed
to recognize that the MRI had changed medical science really significantly,
but it had never been recognized with a Nobel Prize.
And we're going to pause here for a sponsor break,
and when we come back, we will talk about some

of the reasons that scientists thought this was the case,
and we'll also talk about the fallout that happened after
a Nobel Prize was finally awarded for MRI technology in
two thousand and two. An editorial in The Wall Street

Journal by Cameron Stracker noted that it was odd that
the MRI, which everyone lauded as such a huge step
forward in medical imaging that even men of science referred
to it as miraculous, had never been the subject of
a Nobel prize. Stracker's write up quotes University of Oregon
chemistry professor Hayes Griffiths, who said, quote, MRI is the

perfect candidate for the Nobel It's something that has improved
and advanced medicine in a way no one can argue with.
The article then quotes nineteen eighty one Nobel Laureate in
physics Nicholas Blombergen as saying, quote, what bothers me is
that the institute in Stockholm has not yet awarded the
prize for this great discovery. I believe this is partly

due to controversy over Damadian's role. The National Academy of
Sciences had the same year Damadian gave his quote about
curiosity and not wanting to be a mere observer. To
this thrilling News Science published a commission paper that had
largely written Damadian out of the MRI story, that claimed

that his MRI methodology had not been reliable enough before
Paul Lauderber got involved with the technology. Finally, the Nobel
Committee recognized the importance of the MRI, but it caused
a lot of strife in doing so. In two thousand
and three, Sir Peter Mansfield and Paul C. Lauderber shared

a Nobel Prize for Contribution to Physiology and Medicine, and
this was controversial. They had built on work that Demadian
had done and he felt like he had been left
out of his rightful credit. In a statement to the press,
Demadian said of the Nobel prize, quote, I believed that
I deserved one. I came up with the idea for

the MRI. I built the first machine, and if there
was to be a Nobel Prize for medicine for the MRI,
I thought it should go to me.

Speaker 2 (24:57):
On December ninth, two thousand and three, Raymond did Cadian
took out huge ads in the New York Times and
The Washington Post. The copy read, in part quote, the
prize pretends to honor discoveries concerning the development of magnetic
resonance imaging. Yet the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine
decided to exclude from recognition the foundational scientific history of

magnetic resonance imaging, scientific history that has been before the
committee during the many years doctor Raymond Damadian has been
nominated for the prize for the MRI I. They have
chosen instead to award the prize to two men who
contributed nothing more than improved ways to image the MR
signals from cancer tissue and healthy tissue that Raymond Damadian discovered.

He reportedly spent more than two hundred thousand dollars on
his print campaign in the hopes that the Nobel Committee
would amend their decision. There was even a mail in
coupon at the bottom of the ad so that readers
of the paper could clip it out and mail their
support of Domadian too the Nobel Committee. When it came
apparent that the effort was fruitless, his statement to the

press became quote, I've had time to reflect, and I
must say now that I have learnt how easily the
Nobel can be manipulated. I have lost almost all respect
for the prize. I can even tell you that I
am not sure I want it anymore.

Speaker 1 (26:21):
One of the rumors that popped up as this controversy
boiled over was that it was Damadian's religious beliefs that
had held him back from receiving the award. Damidian was
a very devout Christian and he was very vocal about
being a creation scientist who believed in the biblical story
of God creating Adam and Eve. Another rumor was that

Lauderber had been the decider and that he had made
clear that he would not share this honor with Damadian.
But in the end, though all of this remains strictly rumor,
neither of those stories has ever been substantiated. The Nobel
Committee chairman at the time, doctor Hans Ringerts, made a
statement to the press that there were no obstacles to
Domadian being nominated for the Nobel Prize in the future.

Speaker 2 (27:05):
In the midst of all the argument over credit, another
completely unexpected person popped up to claim that he too
had the idea to use magnetic imaging, and that he
had it before all the other contenders. This claim was
made public in the journal Nature in November two thousand
and three under the headline Russian claims first in magnetic imaging.

The write up is by Brian McWilliams, but the inventor
at the center of it is Vladislav Ivanov. According to
the rite up, Ivanov was serving as a lieutenant in
the Red Army when he was giving the task of
using NMR for aircraft navigation. They were using it to
image water, and Ivanov thought that it could be used
to image the human body. He's quoted in the article

saying quote, I figured that because a person is made
up primarily of water, the same method could be used
in research on living organisms. The water inside a person
could be used to give a signal showing what exists
or is located inside and there is according to the article,
a document from nineteen sixty that Ivanov filed with the
USSR State Committee for Inventions and Discovery titled method of

Examination of the Internal Structure of Material Bodies that laid
out this whole idea. It's kind of the same idea
as like a patent application. But Ivanov wasn't especially.

Speaker 1 (28:25):
Worried about trying to legally challenge anyone over any of this.
His idea had not been understood or approved by the
administration in Soviet Russia, who thought that his filing it
was actually evidence that the lieutenant just had too much
free time. Ivanov also seemed amused with Damadian and thought
it was difficult, too impossible to contain things like MRI technology,

noting quote, Besides, there are always mistakes when you have
major advances in science, you can't keep an idea in
one place. They have their own momentum.

Speaker 2 (28:57):
Doctor Damadian died just two years ago at the age
of eighty six, on August third, twenty twenty two, in Woodbray,
New York, of cardiac arrest. His New York Times obituary
walked through all of the many legal and professional battles
that were involved in his work in MRI technology. His company, Foonar,
is still in business, though its focus has shifted more

to managing scanning centers and offering service on existing tech.
If you visit the company website, it says the landing
page the inventor of MR scanning.

Speaker 1 (29:31):
Because Nobel documents used to determine the awarding of prizes
are kept confidential for fifty years, we will have to
wait until twenty fifty three to know why the committee
chose to honor Lauderber and Mansfield over Rayeymadian.

Speaker 2 (29:45):
But perhaps the bigger question is not who should get
credit for this invention, but how and why concepts of
invention and ownership are established and whether they need to
be re examined. As a coda, here's a quote from
a paper written I meet presad titled the Amorphous Anatomy
of an Invention the Case of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, which

was published in the Social Studies of Science in two
thousand and seven.

Speaker 1 (30:11):

Speaker 2 (30:12):
In this paper, I analyze the priority dispute between Damadian
and Lauderber over the invention of MRI. My attempt to
clarify the debate, however, does not intend to assign priority
to one of the scientists. Instead, through an analysis of
this priority dispute, I will problematize notions of discovery and invention.
I will show how the process of laying claim to

an invention or discovery is negotiated, even while the outcomes
of the negotiations remain open ended. In particular, I will
throw light on interplay between the institution of authorship and
technoscientific practices in the process of defining a particular technoscientific
event as a discovery or an invention, and particular scientists

as discoverer or inventor.

Speaker 1 (31:00):
I really love that quote when I was looking at
that paper, because it really did open my mind to like, oh, gosh,
I hadn't you kind of instinctively know yes, when someone
patents a thing, they don't really know what it could become.
But this really did focus that concept to me of
like people are arguing over their claims to stuff when

they didn't know what they were really making a claim on.
I understand the financial aspect and capitalism of all of it,
but it still made me go like, oh, science, science
has this one big problem where we don't know what's
going to happen. The unpredictability of the future leads to
some big problems with this. So that is I'm sure

if you are a person that works in MRI tech,
you're like, you left out a bunch of stuff. Even
with two episodes. Yeah, I know, there's a lot to
win on there, so hopefully we hit the most important parts.
I just thought it was a really fascinating examination of
the way that these things can explode and become important
but also be something that people grapple with for a

long time. I have a fun listener email about another
person who is famous for his I don't know that
invention is quite the right way before his product. This
is from our listener Ellen, who writes, Hi, Tracy and Holly.
Sorry no cute animals, but thank you for the popcorn podcast.

I met Orville Reddenbacher in Valpraiso, Indiana. I attended Valpraso
University in the early nineteen eighties and the town had
a popcorn festival in early September. His factory was about
five miles away, and on days that the company tested
the popcorn, you could get a large garbage bag of
popcorn for five dollars. Unless it was for a school, church,

or youth group. It was free for the groups. Groups
on campus would sell unpop popcorn to raise money. I
love this. I kind of love that they just listen.
Orvil Reddenbaker is one of those dudes who always seemed
really cool and nice and like a just a good
kind person. And I love that this kind of holds
that up. Like his company was like free popcorn for

anyone without wants, which, let me tell you, I would
be driving up with my car every day they did
a test. Same give them twenty bucks, fill that car
with popcorn, get out of dodge and eat myself silly.
Thank you for telling us about that, because that's a
really wonderful story, and I'm a little jealous. You got
to meet him. If you would like to write to us,
you can do so at History podcast at iHeartRadio dot com.

You can also subscribe to the podcast if you haven't
done that already at his Easiest Pie, on the iHeartRadio app,
or anywhere you listen to your favorite shows.

Speaker 2 (33:42):
Stuff you Missed in History Class is a production of iHeartRadio.
For more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts,
or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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Tracy V. Wilson

Tracy V. Wilson

Holly Frey

Holly Frey

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