Cool Iowa Products CompetitionJanuary 17, 2024


MVS is celebrating our 100 year anniversary, and Iowa inventors have been making great inventions in a wide variety of technologies and industries for all of these decades.  Some examples of Iowa related inventions that changed the world include the first gasoline powered tractor invented in Waterloo by John Froelich (the predecessor to John Deere), first electronic digital computer invented at Iowa State University by John Atanasoff, the Frank-O-Matic hotdog making machine by Ray Townsend in Des Moines, vending machines by F.A. Wittern, nylon invented by Wallace Carothers of Burlington, the dental chair by John Naughton from Williamsburg, Walter Sheaffer’s fountain pen, and the trampoline invented in Cedar Rapids by George Nissen.

Now, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI), in conjunction with MidWest One Bank, is looking for the coolest things made in Iowa.  From nano-sized micro products, to large industrial machines or vehicles, from consumer goods to high tech products, cool is in the eye of the beholder.

This state wide contest wants to showcase Iowa’s best innovations, craftsmanship and technologies. Other states have held similar competitions.  Nominations are open to the public from March 25-April 8.  All nominees will be publicly announced on April 19.  Then the “tournament” type public voting begins with the first round on April 22 – 30, to narrow the candidates down to 16 cool products.  The second round of voting is from May 2-8, and the top 8 vote recipients will be announced on May 9.  The next round of voting from May 10-16 will further narrow the filed to 4 semi-finalists. The final round of voting from May 20-29 will determine a winner, who will be announced on June 5 at the ABI Taking Care of Business Conference in the Quad Cities.

For more information and to submit your nominees for Coolest Thing Made in Iowa, go to

Kirk Hartung is a member of the Mechanical Patent Practice Group at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC. For additional information please visit or contact Kirk directly via email at

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