Our County has been part of many notable 'firsts' throughout history. Everyday things like checking the score of a Rutgers game, listening to your favorite song or flipping through a magazine can be traced back to events, discoveries and changes changes that started here in Middlesex County. Here are just some of these history-making events:
1718: Perth Amboy becomes the first city incorporated into New Jersey, which today has grown into the most densely populated state.
1751: Woodbridge becomes the location of the first printing press in New Jersey, connecting residents to the world through the written word.
1758: Spread the news: The first magazine printed in New Jersey, called Parker Press, is published in Woodbridge.
1845: The first Artists’ Colony in America is formed in Perth Amboy. This model has inspired countless creators since then.
1869: The world’s first college football game is played in New Brunswick. Rutgers bested Princeton by a score of 6 to 4. The game kicked off America's obsession with college football.
1870: Perth Amboy makes civil rights history as T. Peterson becomes the first African-American man to vote in the United States.
1877: Thomas Alva Edison, in what is now Edison, creates the phonograph and gives birth to recorded sound.
1879: Thomas Edison debuts the first electric light in his famous Menlo Park laboratory, in modern-day Edison.
1880: After the single light, Thomas Edison takes things one step further, and Edison becomes the site of the first house equipped with electric light.
1886: New Brunswick is the birthplace of poet Joyce Kilmer, who wrote the poem that included the famous phrase "I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a tree."
1912: The first Airmail Flight takes place at South Amboy’s Star Field, opening up communication around the world.
1914: New Brunswick becomes the site establishing Middlesex County as home to the first Vocational-Technical School System in the United States.
1942: Duct tape is first developed. The Permacel Division of Johnson & Johnson, in New Brunswick, developed a strong, fabric-based, multi-purpose, pressure-sensitive adhesive tape 1.88 inches (48 mm) wide, using a rubber-based adhesive (for water resistance) and a polyethylene coated cloth backing (to facilitate ripping pieces from the role) that was O.D. (olive drab) green in color. The tape was very useful, and became extremely popular with United States Army troops, who used it to repair all sorts of military equipment.
1943: Selman Waksman won the Nobel Prize for his disccovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic to cure tuberculosis, while on faculty at Rutgers College. Waksman and his team also discovered actinomycin, clavacin, streptothricin, streptomycin, grisein, neomycin, fradicin, candicidin, candidin, and others, , starting doctors on the road to saving lives with the first use of a broad spectrum antibiotic.
1964: The state's first County College is founded in Edison Township.