Sunday, February 20, 2011

7 Women Who Dared to Invent

There are a plethora of inventions that exist in the world today that all originated as ideas in the minds of women.  I've compiled a list of seven common inventions you probably didn't realize were created by the hands of a woman.

1. In 1956, after growing tired of having to scrap an entire sheet of paper because of one small typing error, Bette Nesmith Graham set to work on finding a way to correct her mistakes.  Her inspiration actually came from artists working on a painting.  Bette noted how when the artists made a mistake, they would just cover it with another layer of paint.  In her kitchen's blender, Bette composed her first batch of Liquid Paper--back then it was titled "Mistake Out".
2. The next time you drive in the rain or snow, you can thank Mary Anderson for the ability to see. Mary was the woman responsible for creatng the first windshield wiper in 1903 after noticing that the operators of street cars had to lean out of their cars during the rain and snow to see.  Her creation was originally a swinging arm mechanism that had a piece of rubber attached to it--and it could be moved with a lever from inside the car.
3. Stephanie Kwolek is the female chemist responsible for the greatly important discovery of the liquid crystalline polymer solution that led to the invention of Kevlar.  Kevlar is an extremely strong, durable and stiff material that is five times stronger than steel.  Bulletproof vests, skis, safety helmets, camping gear, hiking gear, etc. all employ the use of Kevlar.
4. "If nobody else is going to invent a dishwashing machine, I'll do it myself."  These words came from Josephine Cochran, the woman responsible for creating the frist working dishwasher.  Granted the machine was created in the late 1800s, and had to be hand operated, but it was a dishwasher all the same.  Josephine found a company to manufacture her machines, and eventually this company grew into what is known today as KitchenAid.
5. Here's a gimme for everyone:  Barbie (every little girl's favorite doll) was, in fact, created by a woman.  Ruth Handler, in 1959, first premiered her newly created doll, Barbie, at a toy fair.  Barbie was an instant success (duh) and have been made and manufactured for the world ever since.  Fun fact: the namesake of Barbie is Ruth's daughter, Barbara, and the later creation of the Ken doll was derived from her son, Ken.
6. Here's another shocker--the disposable diaper was also created by a woman.  For obvious reasons, housewife and mother, Marion Donovan, created the first waterproof and disposable diaper in the late 1940s out of her shower curtain.  Although her design wasn't an instant success, business eventually took off and today we have umpteen different brands of baby diapers.
7. The next time you need to employ the use of your fire escape (which I hope is no time soon) you should thank Anna Connelly.  The fire escape's design and structure can all be attributed to her.
The seven woman and their inventions listed above did amazing things for the world.  From the items that have saved millions of lives (such as Kevlar) to items that simply make life easier (dishwasher, Liquid Paper, etc.) these women designed to improve.  They weren't necessarily concerned with making something new, and most of them didn't actually intend to be inventors at all, they just wanted to fix what they felt was broken.  All I have to say is, "Great job, ladies!"
Have you ever tried your hand at inventing or improving something, lovelies?  If so, what was it?

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