TYPIcally AMERIcAN!  -  AND THEREBY German?!? ...






Here we want to note a few things that are typical for the “American Way of Life“ and of German origin. Everyone knows some of them, others can surprise. The List is certainly incomplete!  -  ... and of course always new things shall be added! ...



Germerika and Hecker!!!

No comment ...


Fahrenheit scale/ thermometer

The simplest example to recognize the degree of German influence in America is to look at the next thermometer: the Fahrenheit Scale  -  invented by the German (Prussian) Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, just like the first really functioning thermometer.

Cars, motorcycles, jet planes, ejector seats(...), helicopters, motorboats, ship’s propellers, refrigerators, computers, e-mails ...
... and much more mark the modern America and the way how people deal with the width of the country. They hold families together and were invented in Germany, just like the Diesel motor and fuel.


US Dollar

The name of the American currency goes back to the German Taler. More about this can be found at the links “The tribes“ - „Saxons“.


State of Georgia

The 4th state of the USA is named for the German Georg II, Electoral Prince of Hanover (Lower Saxony)  - and King of Great Britain and Ireland …


The Kindergarten is a German invention. The Germans anyhow strongly marked the American educational system.


Soft toy animals and Barbie dolls
At the beginning of the history of soft toy animals stand the German Steiff animals. More about this can be found at the links “The tribes“ – “Swabians/Alemans“.
Barbie is also a German descendent. Ruth Handler designed her, inspirited by a German fashion doll named Lilli, which she had bought in Germany.


Weihnachtsmann/ Nikolaus/ Santa Claus

He was first known in Germany. Already Martin Luther had figured out the “Christkind” to replace the catholic St. Nicolas. In the 19th century the Nikolaus figure started to get more and more secularised. During the American Civil War the German immigrant Thomas Nast from the Palatinate drew the first pictures of him, like we know him today.

Nast is called the “Father of the American Cartoon”


Republican Elephant

… also a German-American styled by Thomas Nast ...

Nast’s Cartoons were of great importance for the election of Abraham Lincoln, the Propaganda of the Union during the civil war and the fighting spirit of the US-Army.

Christmas Trees

Are there any American Christmas traditions that aren’t German? …  -  Probably yes …  -  But in every case the Christmas tree was imported by German immigrants.

By the way: The “roots” of these trees are so long that they reach back to the old Germanic tradition of putting evergreen plants into the house, before the holiday of “Jul”, which celebrates the winter solstice. Accordingly they are actually part of a pre-Christian custom. Also the German word “Weihnachten” = “Christmas” is of this kind. It refers to the “sacred nights” after Jul. In Scandinavia the word Jul is today used like the English “Christmas”.



... do we really have to mention that the uniformed nutcrackers are Germans too? …


The Grinch

... invented by Theodor Seuss Geisel (also known as Dr. Seuss) ... – enough of Christmas ...



Walt Disney was just as much of German descent as the tales he made films of and which inspired him.


The Peanuts

Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Co were drawn by the German-American Charles Schulz.


The Simpsons

... and the Simpsons were drawn by Matt Groening ...


Modern male underpants

No joke: The modern male underpants is a worldwide successful patent. It was invented by the German-American Arthur Kneibler.


The jeans pants are an invention of Levi Strauss, a German immigrant. Guys who’ve spend too much time in the internet should remember to put on jeans over their modern male underpants before they visit a shopping mall ...

Shopping Mall

The invention of the Austrian architect Victor Gruen, who immigrated to the United States.


The German comedian and poet Heinz Erhardt wrote about this:

“Damit man sehe, was man höre, erfand Herr Braun die Braunsche Röhre. Wir Wär’n Herrn Braun noch mehr verbunden, hätt’ er was anderes erfunden ...“

“So that one may see, what one hears, Mr. Braun invented the Braun Tube (CRT). We’d be even more attached to Mr. Brown, if he had invented something else …”

Meant is Karl Ferdinand Braun.


Video Game Consoles

Invented by Ralph H. Baer


Generations enjoyed music with the help of gramophones and records. Now they are in fashion again. Both were invented by the immigrant Emil Berliner.



The newspaper is generally a German invention.


Air Force One

Is a Boeing 747. Boeing is a German-American Company.


Highways  -  Interstates and Route 66

The American Interstates were built after the German descending President Eisenhower (actually Eisenhauer) had seen the Autobahnen in Germany after World War II. Without his plan to take these as an example and built the Interstates, Route 66 would have never become the American legend, it is today.  -  So: even if Germans ruin something, we still create culture …  -  and hey: what would Route 66 be without cars and motorcycles? Awfully boring!


Heinz Ketchup

Wouldn’t be mentioned here, if it wouldn’t anyhow have a 98% share of the market in the United States. The Heinz family once came from the village of Kallstadt in the Palatinate, just like the family of US-President Trump.


Cafes/ Diners

The origin of the European Cafes that were exported to America lies in the “Kaffeehäusern“ in Vienna und goes back to the time after the besiege of Vienna by the Turks. In the gladness about the victory and the relief of the besiege, people drank the coffee that the Turks had left behind at the restaurant-keepers who had captured it. The Croissants goes back to the victory of Vienna as well. The pastries existed in Vienna already before, the crescent-shape however is a symbol for the victory against the Turks. Only it’s name is French.

Tasty bread

In America only findable in German bakeries. There’s no discussion about that! ...

Shooting Clubs

“Schützen Vereine = Shooters Unions“ are existing in Germany already since the middle ages. That this follows the bread topic, happens absolutely not intentionally …


The American choirs arose of German traditions.


Labor unions

The emergence of the American labor unions movement can’t be separated from the history of the German Americans.


Music of the South

The south of the United States is the home of many great American musicians. Bavarian spoon-drumming, as well as the accordion, which was even been declared the official state instrument of Louisiana, are German, just like the harmonica. Without them there wouldn’t be the typical Cayun-Music, which also marked the „black music“ of the south. The German brass bands have influenced these styles of music as well. Processions with brass bands were probably adopted by the blacks from the Germans, who’s welfare organisations were very active to help the poor black population to get access to education and put an end to slavery.

Generally the German culture is one of the cultures that formed, what Louisianans call “Creole”.


Gymnastics  -  ”Turnen”

The sport was invented in Germany during the French occupation under Napoleon. It was supposed to train the German youth for an active resistance. It became a kind of symbol for national liberty and it’s inventor, the Brandenburger Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, received the nickname “Turnvater Jahn” = “Gymnasticsfather Jahn”. During the American Civil War Abraham Lincoln chose German-American Turners to become his personal Guard. He trusted them especially much!



The birthplace of the anti-slavery-movement is Germantown, Pennsylvania. The oldest German settlement in America. More about this can be found at the links “History“ – “German-American history“.