Necessity isn’t the only mother of invention. Though it wasn’t always easy to get patents or the credit they deserved, women are responsible for many items we use today.
We’ll probably never know how many women inventors there were. That’s because in the early years of the United States, a woman could not get a patent in her own name. A patent is considered a kind of property, and until the late 1800s laws forbade women in most states from owning property or entering into legal agreements in their own names. Instead, a woman’s property would be in the name of her father or husband.
For example, many people believe that Sybilla Masters was the first American woman inventor. In 1712 she developed a new corn mill, but was denied a patent because she was a woman. Three years later the patent was filed successfully in her husband’s name.
Some inventions by women:
- Chocolate-Chip Cookies , Ruth Wakefield, 1930
- Medical Syringe, Letitia Geer, 1899
- Kevlar ( A Steel-Like Fiber Used In Radial Tires, Crash Helmets, And Bulletproof Vests), Stephanie Kwolek, 1966
- Fire Escape, Anna Connelly, 1887
- Monopoly, Elizabeth Magie, 1906
- Computers, Grace Hopper (And Howard Aiken) 1944
- And finally the humble window wiper by Mary Anderson 1903
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Siobhan R.// SMC Editor