The Great Fire of 1845 destroyed much of the city, including the wooden Monongahela Bridge. Pittsburgher John Roebling, who developed wire cable in 1840, used it for the first cable suspension bridge, the Monongahela Bridge, in 1846.
John Roebling continued building bridges throughout Pennsylvania, NewJersy, New York and Ohio, and designed what is now known as the Brooklyn Bridge, spanning the East River in New York.
The David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh is the first certified green convention center in the United States and the largest certified green building in the world.
The first commercial radio signal was transmitted on Nov. 2, 1920 from a shack atop a Westinghouse building in East Pittsburgh, signifying the birth of the first commercial radio station KDKA who continues to transmit a signal today. Listeners tuned in to hear the election results of the Harding-Cox presidential election hours before papers hit the streets.
In 1803, the Lewis & Clark expedition that explored the Louisiana Purchase launched near what is today, the Mon Wharf and Liberty Bridge. The region's boat-building industry and location at the headwaters of the Ohio River made it the nation's first "Gateway to the West."
"Left Pittsburgh this day at 11 o'clock with a party of 11 hands 7 of which are soldiers, a pilot and three young men on trial they having proposed to go with me throughout the voyage." With those words, written on August 31, 1803, Meriwether Lewis began his first journal entry on the epic Lewis and Clark Expedition to the Pacific Ocean.
The first Ice Capades performance was in Pittsburgh in 1940. Founded by John H. Harris, who noted the popularity of ice skating displays during the intermissions between periods of hockey games. In the early days, Ice Capades shows were highly theatrical, with vaudeville elements, including scantily-clad showgirls.
Ice Capades shows were extremely popular for several decades-virtually a household name, shows would often feature former Olympic figure skaters who had retired from amateur competition.
In 1859, Edwin Drake drilled the world's first oil well in Titusville, Pa. Almost overnight, the quiet farming region boomed in much the same manner as the gold rush towns of the Wild West. Dozens of wells were drilled and towns sprang up around them literally overnight.
Early during the boom, Titusville pumped out 25 barrels a day, within the first year, some wells were producing as many as 3,000 barrels per day, a small number compared to the millions of barrels produced today. Pennsylvania was actually responsible for almost half of the world's oil production until the 1901 oil boom in Texas.
On October 22, 1920 M.R. "Robbie" Robinson started the Scholastic Publishing Company in his hometown of Wilkinsburg, PA. Today the company, now located in New York and headed by the founder's son, has sales of over $2 billion and publishes over 35 classroom magazines with a circulation of about 35 million students in grades K-12, plus 40 million parents.
In 1967, Pittsburgh native Jim Deligatti first sold the first Big Mac, a seven ingredient, double-decker sandwich, in his Uniontown store. It was designed to compete with the similar Big Boy, the flagship burger of the Big Boy restaurant chain. Customer response to the Big Mac was so good that it rolled-out nationally in 1968.
Today you can visit the birthplace of this iconic sandwich at the Big Mac Museum right outside of Pittsburgh.
The American Bantam Car Company in Butler, Pa developed the first jeep and became the only car company to meet the Army's deadline for a specialty vehicle. Bantam was considered too small to meet the Army's production needs and the contracts were later awarded to Ford and Willy's Overland.
The first injectable polio vaccine was developed by Jonas Salk and his team at the University of Pittsburgh. In 1952, the vaccine was tested at Arsenal Elementary School and the D.T. Watson Home for Crippled Children in Pittsburgh. In 1954, Salk's vaccine was then used in a test called the Francis Field Trial, led by Thomas Francis; the largest medical experiment in history. On April 12, 1955, the results were announced; the vaccine was safe and effective.
Salk's vaccine was intrumental in the beginning the eradication of polio, a once widely-feared disease. Polio cases dropped 90% in the first two years of the vaccine's use.
Carnegie Mellon University is the only place in the world to offer a Ph.D in Robotics.
Pittsburgh has 445 bridges, more than any other city in the world except Venice, Italy.