We know about the inventions from famous men such as Nikola Tesla, Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Bell. But how many female inventors can you name? It seems like we rarely hear about these fascinating women. Many of their inventions have changed the world and even improve our lives to this day.
Here are just a few of those inventions (in no particular order):
1. Wireless Communication – Hedy Lamarr
During World War II, Hedy Lamarr invented a secret wireless system for controlling torpedoes. She designed wireless communication to defeat the Nazis. It proved to be a significant step in the security of military communications.
In 1997 Lamarr received the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Pioneer Award. She also became the first female to receive a BULBIE™ Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, which is considered the “Oscars” of inventing.
Hedy Lamarr’s discovery laid the foundation for many things from Wi-Fi to GPS.
2. KEVLAR – Stephanie Kwolek
In 1965, Stephanie Kwolek was one of the first female chemists to work at DuPont. At the time she was trying to find new synthetic fibers for tires. But, instead she had produced an extraordinarily important discovery.
She brought forth a lightweight–yet 5 times stronger than steel— fiber that was almost indestructible. This material resisted wear, bullets, corrosion and flames! It was later known as “Kevlar”.
We use Kevlar today for bulletproof vests, military helmets, fiber-optics, work-gloves, and suspension bridge cables!
Kwolek won the National Medal of Technology for her research on synthetic fibers and was added to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1994.
As a result of her research efforts she received 17 patents!
3. Beer – Ancient Women
7,000 years ago, ancient societies believed that beer was a gift from a goddess. As a result, women controlled the beer. After a while, the ladies’ brewing skills were so amazing, that no men could brew beer or run a tavern.
4. Car Heater – Margaret A. Wilcox
In 1893, Margaret A. Wilcox was working as a mechanical engineer. She lived in Chicago-so you know she’s had to of seen some hardcore winters.
I’m sure when she drove to work every snowy, winter morning (with no heater) her teeth chattering and her nose red. Then one snowy day she must have had enough and said “Screw this! I have got to get some WARMTH!” Soon after that, she developed a way to direct the engine’s warm airflow to the passengers.
In November 1893, she received the patent for her car heating device. Her idea was the foundation of the modern day car heater, an essential feature in all cars.
5. The Circular Saw – Tabitha Babbitt
Way back in 1910, Tabitha Babbit noticed some lumber workers struggling to cut some wood with a pit saw.
The long saw only cut in one direction and the it had to be operated by 2 men. Using the contraption was a struggle to maneuver. She thought this was ridiculous and a huge waste of energy and time.
She went home and made a notched tin disk and hooked it up to a wheel head that would rotate with a push of a pedal.
6. The Mark I Computer and the COBOL Programming Language – Grace Hopper
Long before the PC (personal computer) came along, computers were huge.
The ENIAC (the 1st electrical computer and was created in 1922) was a behemoth, machine that took up 1,800 square feet and weighed almost 50 tons!
In 1944, Dr. Grace Hopper, a computer scientist, and Howard Aiken designed the Mark I. The Mark I was much smaller, five-ton, room-sized machine. Hopper also coded the first “ compiler” or program that translates a written programming language into binary (computer readable code). We still use compilers today to program apps and video games.
She coined the terms “bug” and “debugging” when she had to clear out moths from the Mark I after it was having issues.
In 1969, she won the Computer Science Man of the Year Award. Later in 1973 she became the first woman, and the first American, to become a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society!
7. Invisible Glass – Katharine Blodgett
General Electric took a chance in hiring Katharine Blodgett as their first female scientist. It’s a good thing they did because in 1938 she discovered a microscopic coating that made glass non-reflective and distortion proof.
The glass was a total game changer for cameras, microscopes, eyeglasses, computers – the list goes on.
During World War II, Blodgett contributed research to military needs like gas masks, smoke screens and a way to de-ice airplane wings.
In short, these women were true pioneers and role models for other ambitious females. Because of their inventions, we live more comfortable lives today.
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What were your favorite female created inventions? Or your favorite female inventor?