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10 Women Inventors We Admire (And What You Can Learn From Them)

Women Inventors

By: Stephanie Jade Wong

It’s National #InventorsDay, and we’re here to honor the women inventors that changed our lives for the better. It’s important to educate ourselves about how we discovered certain items and processes we use on a daily basis. So often, we can take the little things for granted, but let’s celebrate the powerful females who have changed history.

Mary Phelps Jacob

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1. Mary Phelps Jacob: The Modern Bra

Thank you for supporting our girls, Mary! While the first bras may have looked and felt uncomfortable, Mary created a product that was softer, lighter, and better suited human anatomy than a corset. She patented the “Backless Brassiere” under the name Caresse Crosby in 1914. Mary reminds us that if we think we can improve something, to go for it.

Hedy Lamarr

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2. Hedy Lamarr: A Secret Communication System

Hedy was an Austrian actress who created a secret communication system. She manipulated radio frequencies to prevent classified info from being intercepted during World War II. She got a patent in 1941, and was the first woman to receive the BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, which is like an Oscar in the world of inventing. Hedy proved to the world that she was more than just a pretty face.

Ruth Wakefield

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3. Ruth Wakefield: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Could you imagine being the first person to try a chocolate chip cookie in 1930? Well, did you know the creation of it was by accident? Ruth ran out of baker’s chocolate while baking chocolate cookies, so she substituted pieces of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate, thinking it’d melt into the dough. Much to her surprise, she invented what’s now a classic cookie flavor. They say you learn from your mistakes, but you can also create something magical from mistakes, too. 🍪

Marie Curie

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4. Marie Curie: Radium and Polonium

Marie is a scientist who discovered two elements on the periodic table, and coined the term, “radioactivity.” She didn’t just receive two Nobel prizes, she was the first woman to receive a Nobel prize, and the only woman who received two. 👏 Cue. 👏 Slow. 👏 Clap. 👏 Marie inspires us to get curious and work hard.

Melitta Bentz

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5. Melitta Bentz: The Coffee Filter

If I took a gulp of coffee only to find my mouth full of coffee grounds, I’d definitely wouldn’t like coffee as much as I do now. There’s nothing like starting your day with a hot cup of Joe, ☕ and we’ve got Melitta to thank for inventing the coffee filter. How did she do it? By using a sheet of blotting paper from her son’s notebook. Melitta reminds us that the answers to some of life’s smallest annoyances (like a mouth full of coffee grounds) could be sitting right in front of us.

Virginia Apgar

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6. Virginia Apgar: Apgar Newborn Scoring System

All we want to know once a baby is born, is if the baby and the baby’s mama is OK. Virginia created a system better known as the Apgar Score to determine a newborn’s health. APGAR stands for:

Appearance

Pulse

Grimace response (reflexes)

Activity

Respiration

Virginia reminds us that sometimes the most important things are the smallest things, that can change a life. Thanks for helping save a number of lives, Virginia!  

Could you imagine a car without windshield wipers? Mary noticed drivers opening their car windows in order to see in the rain. When she invented the windshield wiper, people thought it would distract drivers. Now, I wouldn’t think of driving a car that didn’t have any windshield wipers. Thanks for making our lives easier (and safer), Mary! She reminds us to keep our eyes peeled for little things we can change.

Mary Anderson

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7. Mary Anderson: Windshield Wipers

Could you imagine a car without windshield wipers? Mary noticed drivers opening their car windows in order to see in the rain. When she invented the windshield wiper, people thought it would distract drivers. Now, I wouldn’t think of driving a car that didn’t have any windshield wipers. Thanks for making our lives easier (and safer), Mary! She reminds us to keep our eyes peeled for little things we can change.

Ruth Handler

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8. Ruth Handler: Barbie Doll

I loved having Barbie doll play dates with friends growing up, but I never thought about who invented Barbie. Ruth watched her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls, and noticed she’d act out the future instead of the present. Ruth wanted to create a 3D doll for her to act out her dreams. Ruth named the iconic doll after her daughter. Ruth reminds us that sometimes we do crazy things for the ones we love, and they turn out to be masterpieces.

Stephanie Kwolek

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9. Stephanie Kwolek: Kevlar

Stephanie discovered a liquid crystalline polymer solution. Her discovery led to the invention of Kevlar, which is a heat-resistant, synthetic fiber that’s five times as strong as steel. You can find it in bulletproof vests, safety helmets, hiking gear, and suspension bridge cables. Stephanie reminds us that one small thing can change many bigger things.

Josephine Cochrane

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10. Josephine Cochrane: The Automatic Dishwasher

Josephine wanted her dishes to be washed quickly and without being broken, so she decided to create a machine that would wash the dishes for her. She patented it in 1886, but dishwashers didn’t become a household norm until the 1950s. Josephine reminds us that it there’s something we want that doesn’t exist yet, that we can create it if we put our minds to it.

Wrapping Up

There are so many great things out there that were created by women, and there could be so many more in the future. These inspiring female inventors remind us that women are intelligent, strong, and can create so much change in this world.

 

 

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About the Author

Stephanie Jade Wong is a NY-based freelance writer. If her phone isn’t glued to her hand because she’s on social media, she’s at the nearest yoga studio. Stephanie hoards beauty products, loves kittens, and likes stepping away from screens to piece together puzzles.

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