40 women who changed history with their inventions

Women indeed run this world. Men in the past have gotten credit, but little did we know that these women invented and tweaked a lot things we use today.

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Photo credit: oneredsf1 via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

 

Photocredit:http://www.invdes.com.mx/ Florence Parpart by her Fridge
Florence Parpart by her Fridge

Florence Parpart

Modern refrigerator and street sweeper

 In 1914, Parpart won a second patent for the modern refrigerator after improving upon the first.Though many believe her fiancée -highly skilled in electrical circuitry assisted in designing the first prototype.

Though the first sweeper was awarded to Eureka Frazer Brown in 1879, she improved the street sweeper and its manufacturing process. She won her patent in 1900 and had contracts with cities as San Francisco to manufacture and deploy her design.

 

Maria Beasely
Maria Beasely

Maria Beasely

Life rafts

The life raft  is used extensively by sea-faring folks for safety. In 1882 Maria invented this device and patented it.

 

hedy Lamarr
hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr

Speed spectrum technology

Australian actress Hedy become a pioneer in the field of wireless communications following her emigration to the United States.  She along with co-inventor George Anthiel, developed a “secret communications system” to help combat the Nazis in World War II.

They received a patent in 1941 and later used it in naval ships and even today in cellular phones, fax machines and other wireless operations.

 

Stephanie L. Kwolek in 2007 wearing gloves made with Kevlar. Credit The News Journal/Jennifer Corbet, via Associated Press

Stephanie Kwolek

Kevlar in bulletproof vest and tires

Lightweight, tougher-than-steel fiber in bulletproof vest, vehicle tires and protective gear was invented in 1965. It was initially used in the early 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires.

Dr. Shirley Jackson
Dr. Shirley Jackson

Dr. Shirley Jackson

Breakthrough research in telecommunications

 As a child she conducted experiments and research, popular among those is the eating habits of honeybees.  Her research in telecommunications enabled others to invent portable fax, touch tone telephone, solar cells, fiber optic cables, caller ID and call waiting.

 

Katharine Blodgett
Katharine Blodgett

Katharine Blodgett

 Nano Coating and Invisible glass

Katharine was General Electric’s first female scientist. She discovered a way to transfer thin mono-molecular coatings to glass and metals, known today as Nano coating. This protects the material from chemical or mechanical damages.

Women drinking beer
Women drinking beer

Beer

Nearly 7,000 years ago in Mesopotamia and Sumeria women were the only ones allowed to brew beer because of the exceptional skills. Ancient Finland also credits the creation of beer to the fairer sex, with three women, a bear’s saliva and wild honey the apparent first ingredients. In England ale was traditionally made in the home by women. They were known as brewsters or ale-wives and the sale of the drink provided a valuable income for many households.

 

Admiral Grace Hooper
Admiral Grace Hooper

Admiral Grace Hooper

Compiler

The Rear Admiral A.K.A “Amazing Grace” was the first to translate English commands into computer code. This has birth so many human-computer languages today.

 

Mary Anderson
Mary Anderson

Mary Anderson

Windshield wipers

Inventor Mary received a patent for her car-window cleaning device in 1903. She conceived this idea on a trip to New York when she noticed the streetcar drivers had to open the windows when it rained, in order to see. She then invented a swinging arm device with a rubber blade that is operated by the driver in the car by pushing a lever.

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El Dorado Jones
El Dorado Jones

El Dorado Jones

Airplane mufflers

In 1919 Jones invented the airplane muffler reduce the amount of noise emitted in its engine after she looked at an automobile muffler and realized it could work for airplanes.

 

 

Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace
Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace

Ada Byron

 First algorithm

She was a British mathematician and writer, and considered the world’s first computer programmer. Her work in computer science has brought about high end languages, search algorithms and other inventions in the field. The modern language Ada, an object-oriented high-level computer programming language is named in her honor.

 

Shaker Tabitha Babbitt
Shaker Tabitha Babbitt

Shaker Tabitha Babbitt

Circular saw

After realizing the round blade would be more efficient in a saw mill she invented it in 1813. She was watching men use the difficult two-man whipsaw when she noticed that half of their motion was wasted.

 

Submarine Telescope
Submarine Telescope

Sarah Mather

Submarine Telescope and lamp

Armies began using submarines during the Civil War. The periscope like equipment that allows in dwellers see above was invented by Sarah. She granted a patent in 1845 for a “tube with a lamp to one end…”

 

 

Dr. Maria Telkes
Dr. Maria Telkes

Dr. Maria Telkes

Solar heated houses

Solar energy may be in vogue today thanks to physicist and solar-power pioneer -Dr. Maria Telkes, who built the first solar-heated house back in 1947.

Margaret Knight was nicknamed "the lady Edison for her prolific inventions
Margaret Knight was nicknamed “the lady Edison for her prolific inventions

Margret Knight

Paper bag folding machine, Cotton mill safety mechanism and rotary engine.

After the civil war, Margaret worked in a Massachusetts paper bag plant. During that time, Knight thought how much easier it would be to pack items in paper bags if it had a flat button. That idea inspired her to create the machine that would transform her into a famous woman inventor. The machine automatically folded and glues the bags.

After observing an accident with a cotton mill, she designed a part of the machine that stops the whole system when something is stuck in it. Later Patented it in 1850.

She was awarded the decoration of the Royal Legion of Honour Queen Victoria in 1871 after being the first woman to be granted a U.S. patent in 1793, and a holder of 87 U.S. patents

Although she was in her sixties when the automobile was introduced at the turn of the century, she nevertheless patented a series of rotary engine designs prior to her death in 1914.

 

Lillian Gilbreth
Lillian Gilbreth

Lillian Moller Gilbreth

Electric food mixer, shelves inside fridge and foot-pedal trash can

In the early 90’s she designed the shelves inside refrigerator doors and the electric food mixer. She later tidied up cleaning with the foot pedal trash can. Being a pioneer in ergonomics she improved existing inventions with small, but ingenious, tweaks.

 

Elizabeth Magie with the monopoly game
Elizabeth Magie with the monopoly game

Elizabeth Magie

Monopoly

Lizzie and J. Magie Philips in 1903 created a game to help explain the single tax theory of Henry George (theory of Georgism). She later patented it in 1904. The game was intended as an educational tool to illustrate the negative aspects of concentrating land in private monopolies.

 

Marion Donovan
Marion Donovan

Marion Donovan

Disposable Diapers

Marion revolutionized parenting by patenting a waterproof boater in 1951. The original was made with shower curtains. She later sold her patent to Keko Corporation for $1 million, and created an entirely disposable model a few years later. The popular pampers was born in 1961.

 

Josephine Cochrane with the dishwasher
Josephine Cochrane with the dishwasher

Josephine Cochrane

The Dishwasher

She created the first commercially useful hand-powered dishwasher. She patented it in 1886, it combined high water pressure, a wheel, a boiler and a wire rack. Sources claim she never used the dishwasher herself.

 

Bette Nesmith Graham
Bette Nesmith Graham

Bette Nesmith Graham

Liquid Paper ®

Secretary Bette secretly used white tempera paint to cover up her typing errors. After several tries and perfection in her kitchen, she finally patented Liquid paper in 1958. Gillette later bought the company in 1979 for a whopping $ 47.5 million.

 

Adeline Dutton Train Whitney
Adeline Dutton Train Whitney

Adeline Dutton Train Whitney

Alphabet blocks

A prolific writer whose books expressed a traditional view of women’s roles and were popular throughout her life. In 1882 she patented wooden blocks to help children learn their ABC’s.

 

Virginia Apgar examining a newborn baby in 1966
Virginia Apgar examining a newborn baby in 1966

Dr. Virginia Apgar

The Apgar score

The simple assessment of the state of a baby at birth. Helps to find out if the newborn is healthy or needs additional medical assistance. In 1952 she started testing newborns five minutes after birth. Approximately 10 years later, the medical community made a “backronym”; Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity and Respiration.

 

Martha Coston
Martha Coston

Martha Coston

Signal Flares

Signal flares is light created by combustion of a pyrotechnic composition. After finding plans in her husband’s notebook after his passing. This widow spent 10 years with chemists and pyrotechnics expects to make his idea a reality. Her husband was credited as the inventor after it was patented in 1859.

 

Mary Delaney
Mary Delaney

Mary A. Delaney

Retractable Dog Leash

1908 Mary patented the first retractable. It had a collar attached, keeping pooches under control whiles giving them the freedom to roam.

 

 

 

Sarah Goode
Sarah Goode

Sarah E. Goode

First African-American with a U.S. patent

Folding cabinet bed

Patenting this idea made her the first African-American woman with a U.S. patent. The idea maximizes space in rooms. A complete desk can double as a bed at night.

 

Patsy O’Connell Sherman
Patsy O’Connell Sherman

Patsy O’Connell Sherman

Scotchgard

The widely used stain and water repellent formula was accidentally discovered by 3M chemists -Patsy and Samuel Smith. Sherman was perplexed when some fluorochemical rubber spilled on a lab assistant’s shoe and wouldn’t come off. Without changing the color of the shoe, the stain repelled water, oil, and other liquids. They patented in 1973 after starting sales in 1956.

 

Fitz 12-inch Terrestrial Globe
Fitz 12-inch Terrestrial Globe

Ellen Eliza Fitz

Fitz 12-inch Terrestrial Globe

Ellen an American governess working in St. John Country, invented a terrestrial globe mount that illustrated the path of the sun and the various durations of the day, night and twilight. She obtained a patent in 1875.

 

Mary Walton
Mary Walton

Mary Walton

Locomotive engine & Elevated Railway

She was awarded two patents for pollution-reducing devices -locomotive engine and elevated railway. In 1879 she created a method for reducing the environmental hazard of the smoke emitted from locomotive engines. She later invented a system for reducing the noise produced by elevated railway systems that were expanding in New York City then.

 

Anna Connelly

Fire escape

The metallic stairs provides a method of escape in the event of a fire or other emergencies that makes the stairwells inside a building inaccessible, after in 1860 in New York City a law was passed for outside stairs for high rise buildings. Inventors came up with several ideas including a head parachute and basket.  She came up with a bridge connected between neighbouring buildings for easy escape during fire. In 1887 she patented an iron railed bridge.

Sarah Boone
Sarah Boone

Sarah Boone

Ironing Board

She is the African American who received patent rights for the improvements to the ironing board in 1892. Hers was designed to improve the ironing of sleeves and bodies of women’s garments.

 

Car Heater
Car Heater

Margret Wilcox

The car heater

Heating up the inside of your vehicle when the weather is cold is very comforting. This came into being thanks to Margret, it was invented in 1893. The system later become inadequate for temperature control but other inventors bettered it.

 

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Rendering of first syringe
Rendering of first syringe

Letitia Geer

Medical Syringe

In 1899, Letitia Mumford Geer of New York was granted a patent for an “In a hand-syringe”. The combination of a cylinder, a piston and an operating-rod which is bent upon itself to form a smooth and rigid arm terminating in a handle, in extreme positions it is located within reach of the fingers of the hand which holds the cylinder, thus permitting one hand to hold and operate the syringe.

Marie Curie
Marie Curie

Marie Curie

First Woman to receive a Nobel Prize

Radioactive metals

Won a Nobel Peace Prize for Chemistry in 1991. Her achievements include the theory of radioactivity (she coined the word), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes.  She discovered Polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world’s first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms using radioactive isotopes.

 

Ruth and her cookiesRuth Graves Wakefield

Chocolate Cookie Chips

The 1936 edition of her book, Toll House Tried and True Recipes was the first to include the recipe “Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie”

She intentionally invented the cookie. She said “We had been serving a thin butterscotch nut cookie with ice cream. Everybody seemed to love it, but I was trying to give them something different. So I came up with Toll House Cookie ”.

Ann Moore with a snugli
Ann Moore with a snugli

Ann Moore

Snugli ® and Weego ® Child carriers

She served in Togo during the 1960s and was accompanied by her husband and fellow Peace Corps volunteer -Mike

After the birth of the couple’s first daughter, following their return to the U.S., Ann attempted to carry her child in the style used in West Africa by using a long shawl as a sling to strap the infant to her back. Finding this method to be ineffective, as the child would slip, Moore and her mother, Agnes Lucille Aukerman, developed a backpack harness that would become the forerunner to the Snugli. Then was patented in 1969.

Marie Van Brittan Brown
Marie Van Brittan Brown

Marie Van Brittan Brown

Closed-Circuit Television Security (CCTV)

 She invented the home security system. The patent was granted in 1969. Brown’s system had a set of 4 peep holes and a camera that could slide up and down to look at each one. The system included a device that enabled a homeowner to use a television set to view the person at the door and hear the caller’s voice.

Patricia Billings
Patricia Billings

Patricia Billings

Geobond

Just imagine a material that is fire-proof and non-toxic. Indestructible right?

Trying to create a cement addictive to prevent her sculptures from shattering, she came up with an indestructible plaster. Later she realized the material can withstand so much heat which opened doors for a wide range of uses.

 

Dr. Erna Schneider Hoover
Dr. Erna Schneider Hoover

Dr. Erna Schneider Hoover

Awarded one of the first patent for computer software

Computerized system for phone traffic

Her invention revolutionized modern communication, it prevented system overloads by monitoring call center traffic and prioritizing tasks on phone switching systems to enable efficient service during peak calling times.

Alice Parker with render of furnace
Alice Parker with render of furnace

Alice Parker

Gas heating furnace

After brainstorming on the concept of warming up her house and regulating its temperature she came up it a furnace that works on gas.­­­ She patented in 1919.

 

Nancy JohnsonNancy Johnson

Ice cream freezer/maker

In 1843 Nancy received the first U.S. patent for a small-scale hand-cranked freezer after an African American  confectioner -Augustus Jackson in 1836 created multiple ice cream recipes. Her machine pioneered a superior ice cream technique and prepping.