Top ten inventions by women
In 1964, Stephanie Kwolek, a Polish-American chemist, invented paraphenylene terephtalamide. A bit of a mouthful really, so for short, it is known as ‘Kevlar’. This is now used in the production of bicycle tires and soldiers body armour. The fibre she had made is as strong as steel!
2. Chocolate Chip Cookies:
This great invention was created by a lady called Ruth Wakefield. In 1930, she took a Nestle chocolate bar, crumbled it into pieces and threw it into her batter, expecting the chocolate pieces to melt during baking. Instead, the chocolate held its shape, and the chocolate chip cookie was born. Thank you Ruth Wakefield!
3. Windscreen Wiper:
Living in England, with our terrible weather, what would we do without windscreen wipers? Thanks to Mary Anderson, who invented this perfect feature which is a necessity to every car today, she has saved many lives.
Mary Anderson was taking a trip in America during the 20th Century. During her trip, Anderson took a tram through the snow-covered city. She noticed that the driver had to stop the tram every few minutes to wipe the snow off his front window. At the time, all drivers had to do so; rain and snow were thought to be things drivers had to deal with, even though they resulted in poor visibility. When she returned home, Anderson developed a squeegee on a spindle that was attached to a handle on the inside of the vehicle. When the driver needed to clear the glass, he simply pulled on the handle and the squeegee wiped the precipitation from the windshield. Anderson received the patent for her device in 1903; just 10 years later, thousands of Americans owned a car with her invention.
What a time saver. Even though the inventor herself did not spend time washing dishes, Josephine Cochrane invented the dishwasher as she had become annoyed that her servants continued to break her heirloom china after fancy dinners. The dishwasher was then invented in 1886.
5. The square bottomed paper bag:
Not really used in England, but is a very popular choice of shopping bag in America. The square bottomed paper bag was invented by a lady called Margaret Knight in 1970. She did not invent the paper bag itself but put forward the idea that instead of having a bag which at the time was in the shape of an envelope, the bag should have a square bottom. This made a lot of sense and the paper bags have been the same ever since.
6. The foot-pedal rubbish bin:
This was invented in the early 1900’s by Lillian Gilbreth. She found that she was able to improve existing inventions with small but ingenious tweaks.
That household game that everyone has had at least one time in their life. Thanks to Elizabeth Magie she has provided generations and generations with this great family game. When she originally created the game it was called The Landlord’s Game teaching players about the unfairness of land-grabbing, the disadvantages of renting, and the need for a single land value tax on owners. Nearly 30 years later, a man named Charles Darrow rejiggered the board design and message and sold it to Parker Brothers as Monopoly. The company bought Magie’s patent for the original game for $500 and no royalties.
8. Retractable dog lead:
Now, I’m not so fond of the retractable dog leads myself as I’m too scared the dog will run in the road but a New York City dog-owner Mary A. Delaney thought otherwise and patented the first retractable leading device in 1908. It attached to the collar, keeping pooches under control, while giving them some freedom to roam.
9. Submarine telescope and lamp:
This was created by a lady called Sarah Mather in 1845.
10. Invisible glass:
Katharine Blodgett, General Electric’s first female scientist, discovered a way to transfer thin monomolecular coatings to glass and metals in 1935. The result: glass that eliminated glare and distortion. It clearly revolutionized cameras, microscopes, eyeglasses, and more.
I have to say my favourite invention by a woman would have to be the chocolate chip cookies. What a find!