Luis Miramontes Luis Miramontes, co-inventor of the pill.

From the pill to the tortilla machine, here are five inventions from Mexico

The color TV, the pill and the tortilla machine all have something in common: these and at least two others are Mexican inventions. For some light Sunday reading, here are five inventions made in Mexico.

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1. The contraceptive pill: Luis Miramontes, only 26 years old at the time and a graduate of the chemistry school at the National Autonomous University, worked with two other scientists in 1951 to synthesize the progestin norethindrone, which was used in one of the first three oral contraceptives.

Miramontes worked with George Rosekranz and Carl Djerassi at Syntex, a Mexican pharmaceutical company (now part of the Roche group) to develop the birth control pill.

2. Color television: Born in 1917, Guillermo González Camarena introduced color television to Mexico in 1940 with a color TV that he had built. The following year, at the age of 23, he patented his invention as a “trichromatic, field-sequential system utilizing the primary colors of red, green and blue.”

In 1946 he sent his first color tranmission from a laboratory in Mexico City, and in 1952 launched a TV station, XHGC Channel 5.

3. The Anáhuac propeller: Juan Guillermo de Villasana, born in 1891, invented the Anáhuac propeller in 1916. It was made of wood and utilized a design that improved the efficiency of a plane’s engine at high altitudes.

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A graduate in physics and mathematics at the Scientific and Literary Institute of Pachuca, De Villasana became chief mechanic of the Mexican army, where he carried out the building of five airplanes with which the Mexican air force was launched, at which time he created his propeller.

4. The tortilla machine: Fausto Celorio Mendoza created the first automatic tortilla machine in 1947. It utilized rollers to shape the tortilla and a system of wires to separate them. Celorio continued to improve upon his invention over the years, and by 1959 it could make 130 kilos per hour.

In 1975 came another model that produced 200 kilos of tortillas per hour with a 50% gas and electricity savings, and more, better machines followed.

The inventor’s name lives on in the name of the company he founded, Celorio Máquinas Tortilladoras.

5. Tridilosa: Heberto Castillo Martínez was not only a community leader and activitist but a civil engineer. In 1966 he created tridilosa, a three-dimensional, structural construction system that employs a combination of steelwork and concrete in smaller quantities than had previously been required.

The product is light and versatile and has since been used in bridges, buildings and other forms of construction throughout Mexico.

Tridilosa saves as much as 66% on concrete and 40% on steel. It is light enough to float on water, but three times stronger than traditional construction methods. It was employed in the construction of the 54-storey World Trade Center in Mexico City.

Source: El Universal Union (sp)

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