23 Things You Didn’t Know Were Invented by Women

Written by Jyotsana Rao

Throughout history, there have been a number of female inventors. So many, that it’s actually difficult to tell how many were there. And all thanks to the restrictive laws as until the late 1800s, it was illegal for a woman to file patents under her own name. She had to file her invention either under her father’s name or her husband’s name.

Here’s a list of things that were invented by some amazing divas who were successful in making our lives so easy.

1. Paper Bag

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A cotton mill worker, Margaret Knight designed a machine in 1868 to make paper bags. The machine had a flat square bottom to give the bags correct shape. Her idea was later patented by Charles Annan. However, the lady filed a lawsuit against Charles, and finally won the patent in 1871.

2. The Medical Syringe

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Letitia Geer was the lady who invented the medical syringe in 1899 that could be operated with a single hand. The next time your doctor injects a syringe in your body, do remember her!

3. Beer

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The earliest recipe of beer was derived from a 3900-year-old Sumerian poem honoring the patron goddess of brewing, Ninkasi. The individual who actually invented it is unknown. However, according to the research of Jane Peyton, a historian, brewing beer was a woman’s domain for several years.

4. CCTV

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Marie Van Brittan Brown devised a system for CCTV security so that people can ensure their security even during the absence of police. Her invention has now turned out to be one of the most crucial things in today’s lives.

5. The Ice Cream Freezer

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Nancy Johnson was the brain behind this invention. She patented the ice cream freezer in 1843, and the ideology is still used.

6. Wireless Transmission Technology

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An Austrian actress, Hedy Lamarr co-invented a system of wireless communication that used spread spectrum technology during World War II.

7. Computer Software, COBOL

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Dr. Grace Murray Hopper, one of the admirals in the U.S. Navy and a computer scientist, was the first person to invent COBOL, a user-friendly business software program. She was also the first person to introduce the term “bug” to mention any glitch in the system.

8. Liquid Paper

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Liquid paper was invented and patented by Bette Nesmith Graham in 1958 after a lot of experiments and research. Later, in 1979, Gillette bought her company for $47.5 million.

9. Kevlar

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The brain behind the boss of most inventions, Kevlar is Stephanie Klowlek. Kevlar is basically a strong fiber that is around five times stronger than steel, and is also used in making bullet-proof jackets.

10. Central Heating

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Alice Parker invented the system of central heating (gas-powered) in 1919. The design proposed by her was never built. However, future central heating systems were inspired by her idea of using natural gas to produce heat.

11. The Modern Electric Refrigerator

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The refrigerator is yet another thing that has become a necessity, and it was Florence Parpart who discovered the modern electric refrigerator in 1914. This was her second patent, the first being an electric street sweeper.

So, every time you go for a chilled beer, do not forget to thank this wonderful lady!

12. The Fire Escape

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During the 19th century, most of the buildings were usually made of wood, so they used to burn quickly during any fire emergency. Keeping this disaster in mind, Anna Connelly invented the fire escape in 1887.

13. The Life Raft

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Maria Beasley invented the life raft and a machine for making barrels in 1882. So, in case you’re going to make an emergency landing in water, do show some gratitude to this wonderful lady.

14. Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Chocolate chip cookies were accidentally invented by Ruth Wakefield in 1930 while she was baking a batch of Butter Drop Do Cookies for her guests and ran out of baker’s chocolate. She crumbled a Nestle chocolate bar and threw it in the batter, and that’s how chocolate chip cookies were born.

Such a tasty accident, isn’t it?

15. Monopoly

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One of the most famous and entertaining games of all times, originally named The Landlord’s Game, was invented in 1904 by Elizabeth Magie.

Parker Brothers bought her patent for the original game for $500 with no royalties and renamed it as Monopoly.

16. Residential Solar Heating

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The solar power pioneer and physicist Dr. Maria Telkes, along with the architect Eleanor Raymond, invented the first residential solar heater in the year 1947.

17. The Dishwasher

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Josephine Cochrane tried to make the lives of her servants easier by introducing an automatic dishwasher that included a wheel, a wire rack, a boiler, and high water pressure. She patented this in 1886, and simplified the lives of her servants and the entire world.

18. Disposable Diapers

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Marion Donovan changed the ideology of parenting by introducing the waterproof diaper in 1951. She could not take the mess out of a diaper every time. So she made a waterproof diaper cover, initially using a shower curtain, and sold the patent to Saks Fifth Avenue, and later to Keko Corporation for $1 million. Pampers was later invented in 1961.

19. Alphabet Blocks

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Children do not like reading books. It was Adeline D.T. Whitney who realized it and patented the concept of wooden blocks in 1882. This surely helped children love ABCs.

20. Windshield Wipers

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Who would have thought that a lady could invent such a simple yet vital thing, and save drivers from bad weather conditions? Yes, it was Mary Anderson who noticed drivers stopping their cars and cleaning the snow off in 1903. She came up with a windshield wiper with a rubber blade that could be activated without getting out of the car. The patent was applied in 1904 but was issued in 1905.

21. Invisible Glass

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Katherine Blodgett was the first female scientist to discover invisible glass in 1952. She discovered a way to transfer thin monomolecular coatings to metals and glass, and as a result, the invisible glass that eliminated glare and distortion was invented.

The invention was widely used in cameras, eyeglasses, microscopes, and many more.

22. The Circular Saw

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Tabitha Babbitt, a weaver, was the first lady to suggest using a circular saw in place of the two-man pit saw in 1813. She also created a prototype and attached it to the spinning wheel. However, the community to which she belonged did not approve of her filing a patent.

23. Coffee Maker

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Most of us cannot begin our day without a cup of hot coffee. The bitter the taste, the better it feels! All thanks to Melitta Bentz, a German housewife, who invented her own coffee machine with a filter by layering the bottom of her coffee pot with notebook paper in 1908. And guess what? It actually ended up working, and the invention was termed, “Filter Top Device Lined with Filter Paper.”

So, if you love chocolate chip cookies, ice creams, beer, and using the WiFi, thank these women for their wonderful creations.

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