You’ve heard of Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell, but what about Mary Anderson or Josephine Cochrane? March 8th is International Women’s Day and to celebrate we’re listing seven amazing inventions that were created by women.
1. Windshield Wipers
On November 10th, 1903, Alabama native Mary Anderson patented the windshield wiper. The idea came to her while she was touring New York City in a trolley car. She found it difficult to take in all the wonderful sights through the snow-covered windows. She noticed that the driver was also having trouble seeing through the sleet; he would stick his head out the window periodically to get a better view of the road. It was in that trolley car that she drew up plans for a manual windshield wiper. When she presented her idea to several automobile companies, she was told that wipers would be too distracting for drivers. Unfortunately, her patent expired before she could convince people to use her product.
Ruth Handler came up with the idea for the Barbie doll after watching her daughter, Barbara, play with paper dolls. She noticed that Barbara and her friends liked to pretend that the dolls were teenage versions of themselves. Ruth imagined a 3D teenage fashion doll that girls could use to act out their future. On March 9th,1959, her dream was realized when Barbie was unveiled at the New York Toy Fair—the rest is history!
3. Chocolate Chip Cookies
The invention of the chocolate chip cookie was an accident. In 1930, Ruth Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Inn, was making a batch of chocolate cookies for her guests. She was out of baker’s chocolate so she used broken pieces of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate instead. The cookies, christened “Toll House Crunch Cookies,” were an instant success. The popularity of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate also rose and soon Andrew Nestle and Ruth Wakefield struck a deal. In exchange for Wakefield allowing Nestle to print her recipe on their chocolate packages, Wakefield would receive a lifetime supply of chocolate. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal!
In 1904, Elizabeth Magie patented “The Landlord’s Game.” Magie created the game to protest monopolists. She did this by creating two sets of rules; one that rewarded all the players when wealth was created and one that encouraged players to create monopolies and crush opponents. Her hope was that the players would realize that the anti-monopolist version was better. Fast forward thirty years to Charles Darrow selling a modified version of “The Landlord’s Game,” renamed “Monopoly,” to the Parker Brothers. Magie received a mere five hundred dollars and no royalties for her invention.
5. The Retractable Dog Leash
Mary Delaney patented the retractable dog leash in 1908. She wanted to give her dogs the freedom to roam while still keeping them under her control.
6. Disposible Diapers
Marion Donovan was tired of washing her baby’s cloth diapers, so she set out to create a disposable paper version. She presented her prototype to several paper manufacturers but was told that her idea was unnecessary and impractical. Ten years later, Victor Mills capitalized on her idea and created Pampers.
7. The Dishwasher
When Josephine Cochrane discovered that one of her servants had chipped a piece of her fine china, she was furious. She vowed that she would never allow the servants to wash her china again—she’d do it herself. After many weeks of washing her own dishes, Cochrane wondered why no one had invented a machine that could do the job for her. Overcome with inspiration, Cochrane rushed to her library and drew up plans for the first machine dishwasher. She received her patent on December 28th, 1886.
These are just a few of the inventions that women have come up with. There are so many other magnificent ideas that females have contributed to society.
I think it’s safe to say that women are awesome!
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