MONTVILLE, NJ - Linda Barth, author of the book A History of Inventing in New Jersey: From Thomas Edison to the Ice Cream Cone lectured at the Montville Historical Society meeting on Monday, Nov. 10. An appropriate special guest at the meeting was Steve Sanders, President of Seabreeze Fruit Flavors Inc., which bottles Bosco chocolate syrup in Towaco. The Bosco brand is mentioned in the book because it was invented in 1928 in Camden by a doctor who, it is rumored, wanted to help patients with nutrition.
Seabreeze has been located in Towaco since 1983, and Bosco has been bottled at the company since the early 1980s. Bosco is enjoyed internationally, in countries such as Israel, India, and Kuwait. The company introduced new flavors this year, including sea salt caramel and fudge brownie. Seabreeze also bottles sodas, juices and cocktail mixers for wholesale customers such as bars and cafeterias.
Bosco has a Hollywood connection as well, having appeared in movies such as Psycho and Night of the Living Dead, in which it was used as blood, and in the famous television show Seinfeld, when George Costanza used “Bosco” as his ATM code. “My son sent cases of Bosco to all the television networks and movie studios,” stated Sanders, “So we like to think that was the spark for the idea.”
Bosco and the Seabreeze company also gained the attention of Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, who visited the plant recently as part of her “Tried and True” tour, spotlighting long-time New Jersey companies. The company will celebrate its ninetieth year in 2015.
Another television show will spotlight Bosco and Seabreeze on Nov. 20, when “Food Factory” will present a segment showing plant employees and Sanders. The show gives viewers a factory tour, introduces Sanders and other plant employees and shows commercials for Bosco from the past. The show airs on channel 160 in the Montville area, and will be shown at 11 p.m. on the FYI Network.
But Bosco is not the only invention from Montville. The inventors of The Clapper (a device that turns lights or other items on or off with the clap of one’s hands), a windshield wiper and an anti-theft device for clothing all live in Montville according to Historical Society President Kathy Fisher.
Barth’s lecture mentioned just some of the hundreds of items in her book which have been invented in New Jersey, including bubble wrap, BandAid®s, PlayDoh®, and M&M’s®. The drive-in movie theater, Bakelite (one of the world’s first plastics) and the Egg-o-Mat, a sort of self-serve egg vending machine, were all invented in New Jersey – some with more long-lasting use than others. Other inventions from New Jersey include Edison’s lightbulb – which was not the first, but was the first that lasted 40 hours, Morse Code and the telegraph, which was first demonstrated at Vail Ironworks in Morristown and Bell Laboratories’ touch tone phone, which at first had no “*” or “#” buttons.
Barth said she’s “not sure why New Jersey is the inventing state, but we’re the only state with our own Inventors’ Hall of Fame, located at Stevens Institute of Technology and we rank fourth in the number of patents by state.”