10 Great Inventions by Women
Indeed, where would we be without women? Aside from the obvious fact that we wouldn’t exist, human civilization would be quite technologically impoverished. Below, we run through some of the greatest inventions by women.
Bette Nesmith Graham – Liquid Paper (1951)
Stephanie Kwolek – Kevlar (1964)
Stephanie Kwolek, a Polish-American chemist, is best known for the invention of poly-paraphenylene terephtalamide. Say, what? Well, it’s popularly known as ‘Kevlar’, and is now used in the production of everything from bicycle tires to body armour. Soldiers who have seen and survived repeated combat situations partially owe their lives to her.
Mary Anderson – Windshield wiper (1903)
Today, rain and bird droppings are much less of a problem for motorists thanks to Mary Anderson (an American born in Alabama). By creating a device that improves visibility during harsh conditions, millions and millions of lives were saved.
Tabitha Babbitt – Circular saw (1813)
The circular saw is, of course, best known in horror or hardcore action movies, where it’s employed to dismember parts of the human body in a grizzly fashion. But it does have legitimate uses – (American) Tabitha Babbitt built the first circular saw for use in a lumbermill, greatly increasing the efficiency and productivity of the lumber industry.
Marion Donovan – Disposable diaper (1946)
Marion Donovan (American entrepreneur) solved the problem of perpetually smelly babies by inventing the disposable diaper. Soon, child-rearing activities became much more tolerable and parents did not have to contemplate suicide over prodigious amounts of baby poo.
Hedy Lamarr – Advances in torpedo technology (1940)
Hedy Lamarr, Hollywood sex symbol and brilliant rocket scientist. Although popularly known for her sometimes controversial film roles, she (and a composer friend) invented a system by which radio-guided torpedoes could not be jammed by the enemy. This technology has since been the basis of everything from mobile phones to wireless Internet protocols.
Josephine Cochrane – Dishwasher (1886)
Josephine Cochrane, an American socialite, created the first practical mechanical dishwasher, turning chore into technological miracle and liberating many hands from soapy waters. Today, many restaurants, hotels, and large events can’t do without it.
Martha J. Coston – Signal flare (1859)
Working on her late husband’s unfinished project, (American) Martha Coston eventually turned out a practical signaling system using flares for the Navy. Today, everything from military to rescue operations depend heavily on flares as a mode of communication.
Anna Connelly – Fire escape (1887)
Okay, you’re in your apartment or office building. There’s fire everywhere. You’re totally freaking out. Where do you go? Because of Anna Connelly, who patented the first fire escape in 1887 (with exterior staircase and all), you get to live another day.
Ruth Graves Wakefield – Chocolate chip cookie (1930)
Surely, one of the greatest and most understated inventions in human history. And surely the tastiest of the greatest. (American) Ruth Wakefield, ran a tourist lodge / toll house with her husband and accidentally stumbled into the creation of the chocolate chip cookie. Decades and decades after, the chocolate chip cookie is embraced almost everywhere in the world.
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