Bet You Didn’t Know These 8 Things Were Invented by a Woman?
From the top of your head, name a woman inventor. Although it wasn’t easy getting the credit they deserved or getting their ideas accepted during their time, there are a lot of things we use every day that we owe to women. Here are just a few of them.
Elizabeth Magie created the board game in 1904 originally as The Landlord’s Game to educate players on the “present system of land-grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences.” 31 years later, Charles Darrow made a version of the game and sold it to Parker Brothers as Monopoly. After it became a hit, Darrow earned millions while Magie, whose rights to the game were also bought thereafter, earned a measly $500 without royalties. Darrow’s “creation” lives on until today, and The Landlord’s Game and its intended purpose quickly faded alongside any memory of the woman behind it.
7. Paper Bag Design
The paper bags we use every day hadn’t always been flat bottomed. And Margaret Knight saw a problem with that while working in a paper bag factory, knowing that packaging items would be much easier with flat bases. This led her to inventing a machine that would automatically fold the paper bags into the shape they are today. Fun fact: she also created a number of other inventions, including a dress and skirt shield, a robe clasp, and a two-pronged spit.
6. Windshield Wiper
Mary Anderson took a trip to New York City one winter day in 1902 and was stunned by how drivers would have to roll down their car door windows to see a clearer view of the street and by how they would have to pull up to the side of the road every now and then to manually wipe the snow off their windshields. She then conceived a design for a windshield wiper that could be operated by the driver within the vehicle, but attracted little interest. By the time her patent expired, others have made one improvement after another until windshield wipers were finally utilized in Ford Motor Company vehicles in the 1970s.
5. Liquid Paper
When the usage of electric typewriters became widespread after World War II, it made typing easier but correcting mistakes more difficult. Bette Nesmith Graham grew tired of having to retype pages over one single error and invented a correction fluid made of white, water-based tempera paint. It quickly grew popular among office secretaries and eventually to the entire world.
4. Retractable Dog Leash
The first patent for a retractable dog leash was filed in 1908 by Mary Delaney for the purpose of preventing her dogs from running to where they shouldn’t. Her patent is cited by all subsequent patents for adjustable dog leashes, including the 1940 blueprint that most manufacturers of today use as reference.
3. Foot Pedal Trashcans
We have America’s First Lady of Engineering Lillian Gilbreth to thank for the foot pedal found in most trashcans making garbage disposal more efficient and hygienic. She also created the inner shelve in fridge doors. She was also the mother of Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey who wrote the autobiographical book Cheaper by the Dozen.
2. Fire Escapes
Credit for inventing the fire escape goes to Anna Connelly, but it didn’t look nor function the same as modern fire escapes. Her invention was a fire escape bridge with which residents would cross to the neighboring building from the rooftop where they would then safely evacuate. In the 1900s, her invention became part of many mandatory building safety codes across the US.
1. Circular Saws
No one could ever guess that the inventor of the circular saw would be a weaver. Tabitha Babbitt noticed how the men in her community would cut wooden logs using a two-person saw which, she realized, wasn’t very efficient. She experimented with her spinning wheel, adding a small circular blade, until she developed a bigger tool powered by water for the woodcutters. To her, work should be done “smarter, not harder.”
Did these women change the way you see everyday objects? Tell us our thoughts below!