Education

Knoxville man revolutionized industry

George Roby Dempster changed the trash business with invention

LESLIE’S TRIVIABITS
BY LESLIE ELMAN

The Dempster Dumpster, introduced in the 1930s, revolutionized public sanitation by making it possible to collect and transport tons of refuse efficiently and with minimal manpower. Engineer and businessman George Roby Dempster, inventor of the Dempster Dumpster, went on to become mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee, in the 1950s. His namesake product became so ubiquitous that “dumpster” is now considered a generic term for any bin resembling that most functional and convenient trash receptacle.

TRIVIA FANS: Leslie Elman is the author of “Weird But True: 200 Astounding, Outrageous and Totally Off the Wall Facts.” Contact her at triviabitsleslie@gmail.com.
COPYRIGHT 2018 LESLIE ELMAN DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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  1. True story – Knoxville built a new high school in the late 60’s and rumor had it named after the Dempster brothers. The new school took the name of the school it was replacing, Bearden High School. I played football at Bearden then but I would have quit if the school was named for the Dempsters. There’s no way the nickname could be anything other than ‘The Dumpsters’!

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