10 Of The Greatest Things That Women Ever Invented

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Over the decades there have been countless women that have been inspired to come out with newly devised inventions.Out of all the patents that female inventors applied for near the end of the 20th century, there were only about 10% that were awarded. There were various hurdles that women had to overcome in order to get credit for their very own ideas. This is why few names of women appear on creator lists for the most popular inventions of the past few hundred years. If you were to take the instance of Sybilla Masters for example, here was a lady that lived in the colonies of America. After she had been paying attention to the Native American women for a time, she created a new method for the way they were transforming corn into cornmeal. After she decided to acquire a patent for her work, she traveled to England with high hopes. Unfortunately because of the laws of the time, there was a stipulation that made it impossible for women to own property – whether it was physical property or intellectual – such as a patent. This type of property could only be owned by a woman’s husband or father. By 1715, Sybilla Masters was able to obtain a patent for her device, but only because she used her husband Thomas’ name to receive it.Not only were women unable to get patents for their own inventions during these years, they also had reduced chances in getting a technical form of education that would aid them in taking innovative ideas and turning them into genuine products. There was a whole lot of disrespect and bias going around for women during the times when they searched for men to help make their ideas into a reality. There were several women that thought up fantastic ideas for household improvements, but their inventions would not come to fruition because they were addressed with horrible condemnation for being thought of as too home-based – making them undeserving of the proper compliments.A woman named Mary Kies happened to be the first American female to earn her very own patent in her identity. During 1809 she was able to develop a method of weaving straw into hats that would turn out to be an incredible economical boom for the New England region. Little did Kies know that when she gladly gained possession of that patent slip of paper, she would be opening up the floodgates for women inventors to begin getting the credit they deserved for their own ideas. This article takes the time to recognize 10 great things that women were able to devise.

Circular Saw

Circular Saw

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There was a religious group that surfaced in the late 1700s and they were known as the Shakers. The Shakers were fond of valuing communal, celibate living which would have equal rights between both men and women and all would work hard. This Shaker community in Massachusetts had a woman named Tabitha Babbitt who worked as a weaver. By the time 1810 had arrived, she was able to come up with a means to significantly reduce the burdens of her brethren. She would regularly witness the men cutting the wood with a pit saw (a two-handled saw that needed two individuals to operate). Although the saw needed to be pulled in two directions to cut the wood, there was only cutting going on when the saw was being pulled in a forward direction – rendering the backward motion useless. For Babbitt, it was a pity for there to be so much wasted energy and so she eventually came out with her own draft of a saw that was circular in shape and would eventually be commonly used in saw mills. She attached the blade to her own spinning wheel in order to make every movement count toward cutting results. Babbitt would refrain from applying for a patent during this time however, due to the Shaker community precepts.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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For those unaware, it should be known that many fantastic recipes over the centuries were in fact discovered by accident. For now, we are going to pay tribute to one delicious recipe that many of us could never go without: the good old chocolate chip cookie.
There was a woman working as a dietitian and food lecturer named Ruth Wakefield and she went on to purchase an old toll home with her husband which was located just outside of Boston. Historically, toll homes were places where tired tourists or vacationers would pay their tolls and seize a little food for themselves and their livestock. Mrs. Wakefield along with her husband had turned their toll house into a restaurant/inn. There was one day during 1930 when Ruth had been baking some Butter Drop Do cookies for some of the guests. In the recipe used at the time, it required that the baker use melted chocolate to add into the mix. Mrs. Wakefield was unable to use any baker’s chocolate however because she had none available. Instead, she used a Nestle chocolate bar which she had crumbled into small chunks and tossed it into her batter in hopes that it would melt. But it didn’t melt, and the pieces of chocolate stayed in their tiny clumps and thus, the dawn of the chocolate chip cookie had then begun.Chocolate sales had then started to soar in Massachusetts in the region where Ruth Wakefield had lived. Nestle took note of it and they decided to meet with her regarding her new and popular cookie. It was at the meeting when Mrs. Wakefield had suggested to Nestle that they start scoring their chocolate into lines which would make it easier to break. In 1939, the sales began for Nestle Toll House Real Semi-Sweet Morsels. Mrs. Wakefield allowed Nestle to print her recipe on the back of their packages and in return she was then given a lifetime supply of their chocolate.

Liquid Paper

Liquid Paper

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Bette Nesmith Graham was a high school dropout who was a poor typist, yet worked hard within a secretarial pool. She would go on to become the Texas Bank and Trust’s executive secretary for the chairman. When the electric typewriter had just been released to the general public during the 1950s, the secretaries had frequently discovered themselves having to retype an entire page over and over again simply because there was only one mistake on it. When the newer model’s carbon ribbon came out, that made it more difficult for errors to be fixed.
A wonderful idea came to Graham one day while she was watching some workers as they painted a holiday exhibit on a bank’s window. She carefully observed how they were covering up their painting mistakes by simply adding some extra paint layers to hide them. This gave her the concept to start applying this technique to her typing mistakes. While at home, she took out her blender and mixed herself up some water-based tempera paint combined with dye that matched the appearance of the company’s stationary. From there, she took it to the job and began applying it on with a fine watercolor brush. Amazingly, she was then equipped to correct all her typing errors. It wouldn’t be long before other secretaries in the area were all anxious and excited to use Graham’s kitchen mixture. Ironically, Graham got so occupied with the distribution of her new product (which she deemed, “Mistake Out”) and she got fired from her job. Losing her job didn’t seem to hinder Graham very much as she capitalized on the opportunity to spend her time modifying her new product. She renamed it Liquid Paper and in 1958 she received a patent. Today, even though the typewriter has been made obsolete by the computer, there are many that still use white out for on hand corrections.

The Compiler and COBOL Computer Language

The Compiler and COBOL Computer Language

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Typically when many think about the breakthroughs in computer technology over the years and the people who brought them, names like Bill Gates, Charles Babbage and Alan Turing will come to mind. But if you have ever heard the name, Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, you might know that she warrants some credit for the part she played in the computer industry as well. The Admiral joined up with the military during 1943 and was positioned at Harvard University where she was employed using IBM’s Harvard Mark I computer – which was the initial large-scale computer in the U.S. It turned out that she would be the 3rd individual to be programming the machine and she was able to write a handbook of operations that led the way for many that would follow her. During the 1950s, the Admiral came out with the compiler, which converted English instructions into a computer code. The end result of this code meant that computer code could be developed by programmers with less errors and complications. Hopper would then go on to make another compilation which was entitled the Flow-Matic, which was utilized to program the UNIVAC I and II. These were the first computers to be commercially available. Hopper had also been overseeing the advancements of Common Business-Oriented Language or (COBOL), which happened to be one of the very first computer languages in terms of programming. She went on to obtain various awards for her hard work and even managed to have a U.S. warship named after her because of it all.

Colored Flare System

Colored Flare System

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There was once a 21 year old widow in 1847 that had four children and no idea how to take care of them after her husband had passed away. Her name was Martha Coston and one day she decided to peruse through her deceased husband’s notebooks for some ideas. She managed to find some plans he had made for a flare system in which ships could make use of in order to interact during the night. Coston would eventually inquire about the system being tested and it would end up a failure.But despite this first disappointment, Coston would remain confident and would set aside any discouragement. She devoted the next ten years of her life to redesign and master her late husband’s layout for a colored flare system. She even conferred with scientists and officers in the military, but was unable to conclude how to generate flares that would be bright, long-lasting and easy to make use of in emergency situations. Development would slow down to a crawl until one night Coston took her children to see a fireworks show. It was then that the concept of implementing some pyrotechnic know-how to her flare system came about. When she put it all together, it actually worked and the United States Navy bought up the rights to it. The Civil War was the first theater for the Coston colored flare system to be used on a grand scale.In the end, Coston would fall victim to the U.S. Navy because she was a woman. She was unable to sufficiently support her family during the time of the Civil War although she had 1,200,000 flares produced. They owed her a promised $120,000 but would only ever pay her $15,000 for them. She talked about the Navy refusing to pay her what was owed in an autobiography she wrote after the fact.

The Square-bottomed Paper Bag

The Square-bottomed Paper Bag

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Although Margaret Knight did not end up inventing the paper bag, she wound up coming out with a better answer for them. The first paper bags were not very practical as far as carrying things went. In fact, they more resembled envelopes and would have never turned into the grocery store staple that we have today. The better adaptation of the paper bag would be accredited to Margaret Knight when she came to the realization that they needed to have a square bottom. If the weight was distributed correctly, the bag could hold items in a more efficient manner.It would be in 1870 when Knight developed a wooden device that not only could cut, but fold and glue the square bottoms to the paper bags. But not keeping her machine more concealed would wind up causing Knight some troubles. Right when she was in the middle of producing an iron prototype for her machine ( so that she could apply for a patent) she learned that a man by the name of Charles Annan had seen her original project and stole the idea from her. She would go on to file for a patent interference lawsuit against the man – who tried to take advantage of her being a woman – when he claimed that there was no way she could come up with such an idea by herself. Knight was clever however, and made important use of her sketches and notes to prove that she was in fact the inventor of the device. In 1871 she was granted her patent.Amazingly, this had not been Knight’s very first patent. When she was 12 years old she came out with a stop-motion product that was capable of brining industrial machinery to an instant stop if something had gotten stuck on them. This was able to prevent several accidents. In the end, Knight would be honored with more than 20 patents for her inventions.

Dishwasher

Dishwasher

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The dishwasher was invented by someone that spent countless hours washing dishes and finally got tired and came up with a better way to do it, right? Wrong! In all actuality, there was a woman named Josephine Cochrane that was able to get the patent for the first working dishwasher, but she never spent much time washing dishes. Instead, she grew tired of servants in her home breaking her best heirloom china after they were having extravagant dinners.Like several others of the time, Cochrane was a socialite and thoroughly enjoyed entertaining others in her home. However, her husband’s death in 1883 brought with it some significant debt. Instead of selling off her expensive china like many may have assumed, she took charge and concentrated on developing a device that could wash her china effectively. The machine she created had depended on water pressure that needed to be strong and targeted a wire rack of dishes. She was able to receive the patent for it during 1886. Mrs. Cochrane would go on to state that inventing the machine was easy but promoting it was the real challenge. When she first started trying to market her dishwasher, the product bombed as far as individual customers were concerned. This was because multiple households had been without the necessary hot water heaters that were required to operate it correctly. For those that had the necessary equipment to operate the dishwasher, they instead hesitated because they saw a dishwasher as replacing a service that housewives were already doing without cost. But Cochrane had no fear and would go on to make appointments with bigger restaurants and hotels in order to sell the idea to them that her dishwasher could save companies money because it could do what several employees were getting paid to do. Fortunately, as more women began to get into the work force, more homes were acquiring the dishwasher.

Windshield Wiper

Windshield Wiper

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When the 20th century was first starting out, a woman named Mary Anderson had gone to New York City for the very first time. No doubt the New York City she saw then was much different than it is now. In her time, there were no taxis honking and there were not countless vehicles contending for a place to drive in the afternoon traffic. The automobile was rare then and had not yet grabbed the curiosity of the American people. However, Anderson (who was from Alabama) would go on to devise something that has now today come to be common for every automobile on the planet. While in New York, Anderson managed to take a tram trip through a snow-covered New York City.While riding, she made the observation that every couple of minutes or stops the tram needed to have its front window wiped down to get rid of the snow on it. During this time, every single tram driver had to undertake this tedious task when there was snow, and this kind of weather was just considered to be part of the territory for drivers. When Anderson went home, she decided to create a squeegee placed on a spindle that had a handle affixed on the inside of a vehicle. If the driver was required to clear their glass, they only needed to yank on the handle and a wiping action from the squeegee could be brought on from the windshield. By 1903, Anderson obtained the patent she desired and it only took about 10 years after that before countless Americans were using her invention on their vehicles.

Nystatin

Nystatin

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It is a fact that being a part of a long-distance romantic relationship can be difficult and troubling. But there are people who have pursued these relationships and proven that such long-distance connections can be either professional or personal and produce successful outcomes. Such was the case for Elizabeth Lee Hazen and Rachel Fuller Brown who were employed by the New York State Department of Health during the 1940s. Hazen was living in New York City where she was stationed and Brown was staying in Albany. Regardless of the long distance between the two, both Hazen and Brown joined forces to work on the very first drug that could fight fungus.Hazen would frequently be testing soil samples in New York City to determine whether any living organisms in the soil would react to the fungi. Hazen mailed any jars of soil to Brown when there was activity present. Brown would then work on extracting the agent within the dirt which stimulated the reactions. Eventually Brown had discovered the ingredient that caused the reaction and sent it back to Hazen in the mail – who would then examine it when put alongside the fungi. If the fungi got killed by the organism then it would be examined for toxicity right afterward. When all was said and done, a majority of the samples would end up being far too toxic for people to use. Fortunately, Brown and Hazen would eventually come upon an efficient fungus-killing drug by 1950. The name they came up with for their drug was Nystatin – taken after New York State. The medication is now sold under multiple names and it treats fungal-related infections for the intestinal system, vagina and the skin. Amazingly, it is also used on artwork that has been attacked by mold and even on trees that suffer from Dutch elm disease.

Kevlar

Kevlar

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A woman named Stephanie Kwolek took a position for DuPont during 1946 and it was only to be temporary. Her goal was to save enough money to pay for medical school. By 1964 Stephanie was still working there and doing research on how to change polymers into higher strength synthetic fibers. She was operating with polymers that possessed rod-like molecules that were all lining up in a single direction.
In contrast to the molecules that had been forming in cluttered bunches, Stephanie believed that the uniform lines would render the resulting material more powerful, although such polymers had been quite challenging to break down into a testable solution. At last, she developed the correct solution that had rod-like molecules and at the same time looked dissimilar to every other molecular solution she had yet made. The next step for her to carry out was to put it through the spinneret, which was a device that could generate the fibers. Oddly enough, the operator for the spinneret nearly refused to allow Kwolek to operate the machine because her new solution was so different than any other before it, and he believed it would ruin the machine.Kwolek refused to give up as she was determined, and when the job was finally completed, Stephanie had herself a fiber which was as tough as steel, ounce-for-ounce. The material was then named, Kevlar and since that time it has been utilized for radial tires, brake pads, skis, helmets, camping and hiking gear as well as suspension bridge cables. What most people know about Kevlar is that it’s used to make bulletproof vests. Stephanie would never get to achieve her goal of getting to medical school, but she still got to save many lives because of her hard work.

Kevlar