Throughout human history, innovative women have created a lot of inventions. Sadly, most of us know nothing about them – not even which inventions are theirs. It is time to change that!
Women inventors are responsible for many of the technologies and products that we use every day. From disposable diapers to rocket fuel, women have done a lot for humanity. So, the next time you use GPS on your mobile phone or eat a chocolate chip cookie, be grateful to the women who stand behind them.
In honor of amazing women whose breakthroughs have made our everyday lives so much better, we decided to share with you the stories of these 10 women. Some of them lived ages ago, and some are only decades away from us!
“The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, ‘You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.” — George Carlin
Jeanne Villepreux-Power (1794 – 1871)
This little-known lady was famous for her invention that made studying the marine life a lot easier. She made the first aquarium so that she could observe a nautilus in controlled conditions and prove that it made its own shell.
Margaret E. Knight (1838 – 1914)
Mattie was the most famous woman inventor of the 19th century. If you ever used a paper bag, you can thank her for it. She invented and created the machine that folded and glued paper to create a paper bag. This invention was so popular that a man tried to steal the patent, claiming in court that ”a woman could not possibly understand the mechanical complexities.” Of course, our lady won the case and went on to invent over 100 machines and patent 20 of them.
Josephine Cochrane (1839 – 1913)
After her servants had broken her heirloom dishes, Josephine came up with a mechanical dishwasher that could wash dishes safely in a rack, while a water sprayer cleaned them. When her husband died, she had to make a profit from this invention. Therefore, she became one of the first women entrepreneurs. Her invention became a household word pretty quickly, and we are still using it.
Maria Beasley (1847 – 1904?)
We know very little about Maria Beasley. She made a foot warmer, an anti-derailment device, a barrel-making machine, and significantly improved the life raft which saved countless lives.
Mary Anderson (1866 – 1953)
Have you ever tried to drive a car in bad weather without windshield wipers? Well, if it weren’t for this lady, you would have to find a way to do it! Her idea is so simple and genius that car manufacturers didn’t see the value of it, saying “we do not consider it to be of such commercial value as would warrant our undertaking its sale.” Cadillac started using it first, and it quickly became a standard piece of equipment.
Madam C. J. Walker (1867 – 1919)
Madam C.J. Walker was the first self-made female millionaire in the US. While working as a laundress, she realized that many black women had hair loss problems and scalp diseases because of harsh ingredients in hair products. She developed her own line of hair care products and designed them especially for African American hair. This invention made her wealthy very quickly. She is known to have said, “If I have accomplished anything in life it is because I have been willing to work hard.”.
Ruth Graves Wakefield (1903 – 1977)
This university graduate is responsible for one of the sweetest inventions of all time – the chocolate chip cookie. Her cookbook was a bestseller, and her cookies became so popular, that Nestle noticed a spike in demand for their semi-sweet chocolate. They approached her for the rights to the recipe, which she sold for one dollar and a lifetime supply of chocolate!
HedyLamarr (1914 – 2000)
One of the most glamourous stars of black and white movies was also one of the minds behind an invention that laid the groundwork for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS technology. Many had no idea, but she was a talented mathematician and engineer, and she contributed to WW II war effort by improving torpedo technology.
Marion Donovan (1917 – 1998)
If you think baby diapers are messy, just imagine what they were like a few decades ago when they had no waterproof covers. When Marion had kids, she discovered that cloth diapers were prone to leaks, so she sewed a cover to go over the cloth diapers which prevented leaks without rashes or chafing. Within two years, she made her own company, sold thousands of new diapers, and then sold her company and the patent for $1.000.000
Mary Sherman Morgan (1921 – 2004)
During the World War II, this chemist worked on improving explosives. After the war, she went to North American Aviation and started working on improving rocket fuel. She ended up creating Hydyne, which propelled the Jupiter rocket – the one that sent Explorer 1, the America’s first satellite, into orbit.