Tags: History. Women. Historical Inventions.
In recent decades, women have been increasingly treated as equals, both socially and in the workplace but there was a time when women did not share the same standing as their male counterparts. With this in mind, I have no doubt that if the men of times gone by had been allowed to do so, they would have laid claim to invention of the items described in the following article but, in actual fact, all of these were invented by a woman.
Featured image(above): Maria Beasley invented the life raft
When we use a computer, I’m sure that none of us are aware that a woman by the name of Ada Lovelace can be credited as the first computer programmer due to her work on algorithms at the University of London in 1842. In fact, her notes played an essential role in Alan Turing’s work on the first modern computer in the 1940’s.
In 1843, Nancy Johnson was responsible for designing the first ice cream maker and as an indication of her genius, that patented design is still in use today. It was Margaret Knight who in 1871 invented the machine that could manufacture a square-bottomed paper bag after coming up with a safety device for cotton mills when she was only twelve years old. That device is still used in mills today.
Nine years after the ice cream machine hit the market, keen inventor Maria Beasley made travelling on the water safer when she came up with her design for a life raft and, not wanting to be known as a one-hit wonder, she also invented a barrel making machine. In 1887, the world was introduced to the first practical fire escape due to the inventiveness of Anna Connelly and Josephine Cochrane, after the success of her first invention, the dishwasher, experimented with wireless technology which was used by famous film star Hedy Lamarr when she invented a secret communications system to be used for controlling torpedoes during World War II.
The electric refrigerator. Made possible because of the very clever Florence Parpart
That invention paved the way for everything from Wi-Fi to the GPS system. Letitia Geer was the woman who simplified the vaccination process in 1899 when she invented a medical syringe that could be operated with one hand and 1904 was the year that Elizabeth Magie first marketed her board game which she called “The Landlord’s Game” as a way of exposing the injustices of capitalism.
Thirty years later, Charles Darrow ripped off her idea and sold it to Parker Bros who renamed it “Monopoly.” Who knew! As the twentieth century progressed, so did technology and yes, it was a woman who invented the electric refrigerator in 1914. Her name was Florence Parpart and she also came up with a design for a much-improved street cleaner. In 1947, the world was introduced to residential solar heating thanks to the research of psychiatrist Dr Maria Telkes.
Letitia Geer invented the medical syringe for one-handed use
The revolutionary material Kevlar was first manufactured in 1965 using a formula patented by Stephanie Kwolek and in the final year of that decade, Marie van Brittan invented the CCTV system. There are many more well-known items which can be credited to the ingenuity of the female gender but I think that the ones mentioned in this article will suffice for now. I have to admit, there are some smart women out there.