"He loved apples, and he loved pie, and one day he said, 'I'm going to combine the two,'" explained his widow Velveeta Lugosi-Swayne. "Well, we all thought he had flipped. But Noah had a vision, and he went after it."
Although best known for the famous dessert, which for many years was referred to as "Swayne Pie" before he insisted it be called by its generic name, Mr. Swayne was also responsible for numerous other inventions the world now takes for granted. It was his idea, for example, to make only one side of Scotch Tape sticky. He also invented the extension cord, shirt cardboard, the two-slotted toaster and the bendy straw. Of all his inventions, the one he was most proud of was the "take-a-penny, leave-a-penny" dish, now found in stores around the world. It's official name is the Swayne Dish. Mr. Swayne received a royalty on every penny that went in or out of a dish, said his widow.
"Although he refused to talk about it, Noah also headed the team that developed the first atomic bomb," said his widow. "One day, President Truman called the house and said he wanted to name it the Swayne Bomb, but Noah refused. Noah told the President it should be named after the atom; after all, Noah said, he couldn't have destroyed two Japanese cities without it."
Swayne died doing what he loved most, waiting on customers at his hardware store in Brentwood. "I was at the counter, and Noah opened the cash register, but suddenly he slumped over," said customer Bob Haas. "With his last once of strength, he shut the drawer so I couldn't steal any money."
Swayne's sole request upon his death was that his funeral be conducted at Rodef Shalom Synagogue in Squirrel Hill. "He wasn't a Jew," said his widow, " but he always said it would be neat if everybody thought he was."