While San Francisco may be home to the Rice-a-Roni brand (you can hear the jingle in your head can’t you?) as well as the birthplace of the Gay Rights Movement, there are a few other big things you may not have realized got their start in California’s “other” big city.
Photo Courtesy of Hewlett-Packard
Known for being the world’s lead manufacturer of PC materials, Hewlett-Packard got its start in a garage in San Francisco’s Silicon Valley during the late 1930’s. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started with a mere $538, creating an audio oscillator which they sold to Walt Disney (one of their very first clients). Disney purchased eight of the duo’s oscillators at $71.50 a piece for the film Fantasia. Today, the company headquarters are still based out of Palo Alto; however, they produce much more than oscillators. Currently, Hewlett-Packard is of course one of the largest companies in the world and produces a wide-range of electronic products, from signal generators and surround sound to scanners and computer printers.
Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock
Seriously, what is the best thing about getting Chinese takeout? The answer is always fortune cookies. Although I have been told that you shouldn’t eat the cookie if you’re fortune’s bad...but let’s be honest, most of the divinations inside those sometimes-stale triangles of celestial bliss are usually only good for the lottery numbers (or the "how to speak Chinese" phrases). It was in San Francisco that fortune cookies first got their start in the United States. When Chinese and Japanese immigrants began making their way to San Francisco in the mid 1800s a unique blending of cultures occurred, eventually creating today’s Pan Asian cuisine. Ironically, it was the Hagiwaras, a Japanese family, that invented the “Chinese” fortune cookie for the Golden Gate Park’s Tea Garden.
Photo Courtesy of Levi Strauss & Co.
Levi Strauss & Co.
While the brand has become recognizable worldwide, the privately owned American clothing company was started by Bavarian-born designer Levi Strauss in 1873 after he immigrated to the United States, initially to help his brother with his dry goods business in New York. He eventually moved West to San Francisco where Strauss is credited with the creation of the first blue jean. He and tailor Jacob Davis received a U.S. patent to cut the initial pair of men’s working wear, which quickly became a fashion sensation in the 1960s. The brand has become a worldwide corporation with locations in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa; however, its headquarters still remain in San Francisco.
Photo Courtesy of the Ansel Adams Gallery
One of the most iconic and easily recognizable photographers in the world, Ansel Adams was born in the Western Addition of San Francisco in 1902. His family moved into the Seacliff neighborhood, south of the Presidio Army Base where the family lived during the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It was during an aftershock that Ansel Adams was thrown into a garden wall, causing him to sport a rather crooked nose for the rest of his life. His work captures the beauty of the natural world, which Adams developed while living in the Golden Gate. As a man with a tireless amount of energy, Adams was constantly travelling the country in search of natural wonder, becoming not only a photographer, but a lecturer, writer and environmental activist.
Photo Courtesy of Instagram
Although Ansel Adams died in 1984, we wonder what his thoughts would be about Instagram—the craze that made anyone with a smart phone a bonafide photographer. Interestingly enough, Instagram, which has become a social networking sensation on par with Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest also got its start in San Francisco. Software engineer Kevin Systrom and Brazilian-born entrepreneur, Michel Krieger began their development with Instagram’s initial incarnation, Burbn. But after receiving some funding and tweeking its software, one of today’s favorite photo sharing tools was born. By December 2010, Instagram had a recorded 1 million users and it was honored with “Best Locally Made App” in the SF Weekly, among many other honors.