March is Women’s History Month, a time to highlight the many magnificent things women have contributed to our society.
Women’s History Month dates back to 1911.
At the time, March 19th was celebrated as International Women’s Day. It wasn’t until almost 70 years later, in 1980, that President Carter made it clear that women’s contributions were much too vast to be recognized and honored in just one mere day. He made a Presidential proclamation in 1980 officially observing Women’s History Week during the week of March the 8th. Congress later designated March as Women’s History Month in 1987.
In recognition of Women’s History Month, here are a few badass things that women inventors created to make everyone’s lives a little easier.
1. Circular Saw
Born in 1912, Tabitha Babbitt was a Shaker who lived in upstate New York. She invented the circular saw after noticing two men exerting a significant amount of wasted effort using a two-man saw.
2. Fire Escape
Anna Connolley patented the fire escape in 1887,
resulting in many lives being saved. Although not the first version of the fire escape created, hers’ included the exterior staircase and is the model for fire escapes in use to this day.
Josephine Cochran invented this now coveted appliance in 1872, making lives easier for millions of women and men all over the world. It was first shown at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, Illinois.
4. Closed Circuit Television
Marie Van Brittan Brown was a nurse who lived in Brooklyn, NY. Disturbed by the uptick in crime in the area, she and her husband applied for a patent for the closed circuit television surveillance system in 1966. Its mechanism was a motorized camera that was able to slide up and down and scan through four peepholes to assess for any
5. Liquid Paper
Texas bank executive, Bette Nesmith Graham, invented this staple of offices around the globe after watching painters use paint to correct blunders on a window ledge.She patented liquid paper in 1958 and became a millionaire in the process. She used her wealth to set up foundations to assist women in need.
6. Windshield Wipers
As Mary Anderson traveled from Alabama to New York City, she noticed that drivers had to stop and clean their windows
frequently during their trips. She came up with the windshield wiper and applied for a patent in 1905. Ahead of her time, few people even had cars in the early part of the 20th century; the Model T had not even been invented. Her invention is now a critical part of every modern-day car.
Although a man got all of the money for the idea after selling the concept of Monopoly to Parker Brothers, Elizabeth Magie invented the original game. Originally titled, The Landlord’s Game, Magie created the board game to teach players some valuable economic lessons about taxes, greed, renting and land purchases. She first patented it in 1904.
Stephanie Louise Kwolek invented Kevlar, a polymer fiber five times the strength of steel. It is now used in police vests, helmets, and trampolines, among other things. Wearing it automatically classifies you as a master of badassery.
9. Optical Analyzing System for NASA
Ellen Ochoa developed a system that allowed spacecrafts to analyze and interpret an item based on optical cues (kind of like the cool stuff you see used to identify an alien as friend or foe in the Star Trek Movies). She later became the first female Hispanic astronaut.
Paper bags did not always have the nice square bottoms
that exist today. They were originally more like envelopes until Margaret Knight invented a machine in 1868 to make them similar to our modern-day prototype.She was awarded the patent in 1871 (but not after a little bit of drama—a guy originally tried to get credit for the idea, but fortunately justice prevailed in Knight’s favor).
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Editorial Assistant: Travis May/Editor: Bryonie Wise