Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with the old saw that if you "build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door."
The world started beating a path to a Bradford entrepreneur in the dark days of the Great Depression. George G. Blaisdell didn't care a whit about mousetraps, except, of course, to control the rodent population in his garage where he fashioned a better cigarette lighter.
It was in 1932 that Blaisdell fashioned his first lighter and founded a company called "Zippo." He called it Zippo because he liked the sound of the word zipper and thought zippo sounded more modern.
Legend has it he got the idea when an acquaintance complained about the expensive cigarette lighter he owned that wouldn't stay lit in a breeze.
It was off to the garage for Blaisdell.
The company he founded in 1932 will produce its 500 millionth lighter by June 5, which would have been Blaisdell's 117th birthday.
There is still entrepreneuership in America, though seldom does it manifest itself in building gadgets that come with lifetime warrantees and fit in the palm of a hand. Now, the entrepreneurs are more given to innovations in cyberspace or the devices that have launched us into that realm.
And yet, the spirit is the same.
High grade crude oil may have put Bradford on the map, but George Blaisdell put it on the world map.