Pittsburgh Facts & Trivia

Fun facts and firsts about Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Firsts

  • First newspaper west of the Alleghenies (1789) - The Pittsburgh Gazette
  • First Ferris Wheel (1893)
  • World's First Commercial Radio Station (1920) - KDKA
  • First Ice Capades (1940)
  • First All-Aluminum Building (1953) - Regional Enterprise Tower (formerly the Alcoa Building)
  • First Polio Vaccine (1954) - Dr. Jonas Salk at the University of Pittsburgh
  • First U.S. Public Television Station (1954) - WQED
  • First Retractable Dome (1961) - Mellon Arena
  • First Mass Transit Busway System (1964) - Pittsburgh Regional Transit (formerly Port Authority of Allegheny County)
  • First Nighttime World Series Game (1971)
  • First Robotics Center (1979)- Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute
  • First Internet emoticon, the smiley :-) (1982) - Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist Scott Fahlman

Famous Pittsburghers

  • Dancers/choregoraphers Martha Graham and Gene Kelly
  • Musicians Stephen Foster, Henry Mancini, Billy Strayhorn, Billy Eckstine and George Benson
  • Vocalists Lena Horne and Perry Como
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning writers August Wilson and Annie Dillard
  • Environmentalist and Silent Spring author Rachel Carson
  • Actors/Musicians Michael Keaton, The Vogues, Rusted Root, Christina Aguilera,Bobby Vinton, Jeff Goldblum and Dennis Miller
  • Football superstars Mike DitkaTony Dorsett, Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly and Gus Frerotte
  • Find More Famous Pittsburghers

Pittsburgh's Famous Food

  • The Big Mac, the world's most famous hamburger, was 'invented' near Pittsburgh by McDonald's franchise owner Jim Delligatti in 1967 and distributed nationally in 1968.
  • Heinz Ketchup, invented in Pittsburgh by H.J. Heinz.
  • Pierogies, found at restaurants throughout Pittsburgh, reflect Pittsburgh's Polish heritage. Cooked in butter, these delicious dumplings are stuffed with potato and other flavorings depending on the creativity and tradition of the cook.
  • Chipped Ham is one of Pittsburgh's most famous foods. This spicy lunch meat made its debut in 1933 at Isaly's, a locally based family chain of dairy stores. Former Pittsburghers are known to have it trucked or flown across the country when they get a hankering for this hometown favorite.
  • The Klondike Bar, another Isaly's original, is a vanilla ice-cream bar dipped in pure chocolate and packaged in a familiar silver wrapper. They cost a nickel when Sam Isaly invented them in 1929.
  • Wedding Soup, that delectable Italian broth with tiny meatballs and rich egg pastina, is served throughout the city.
  • Fried Zucchini Strips - thin, crispy and savory, are a hometown original and popular as an appetizer.
  • 'Pittsburgh Salad' - take any salad and top with french fries.
  • Primanti Bros. Sandwich - A sandwich with the fries and coleslaw added right in. Invented during the Depression so that day laborers could hold their entire lunch in one hand.
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