Top 10 inventions by women that changed the world
Do you know the top 10 things that women invented? Check out our selection of 10 things that women invented and that changed the world.
One of the most famous board games of all time, responsible for endless hours of fun and also arguments, was invented by Elizbeth Magie in 1904. The original name of the game was The Landlord’s Game. Magie patented the board game and self-published it in 1906. Nearly 30 years later, a man named Charles Darrow rejiggered the board design and message and sold it to Parker Brothers as Monopoly. The company bought Magie’s patent for the original game for $500 and no royalties.
Residential solar heating
Maria Telkes (yes, she was Hungarian) was one of the first scientists to discover practical uses for the sun’s energy. She invented a device that allowed downed airmen and sailors to distil salt water during WWII, and in 1947 she created the first house utilizing solar energy, a wedge-shaped structure she conceived with architect Eleanor Raymond. Telkes used Glauber’s salt, the sodium salt of sulfuric acid, to store heat in preparation for sunless days. Dover House survived nearly three Massachusetts winters before the system failed.
Nowadays, living without a medical syringe is simply not possible. It is widely and excessively used by doctors and nurses. This wonderful creation fist came into being in 1899 when Letitia Geer created a medical syringe that could be operated with only one hand. The combination of a cylinder, a piston and an operating-rod which is bent upon itself to form a smooth and rigid arm terminating in a handle, in extreme positions it is located within reach of the fingers of the hand which holds the cylinder, thus permitting one hand to hold and operate the syringe.
The ice cream freezer
The ice cream freezer was invented by Nancy Johnson, who patented a design which is still used today, even after the invention of electric ice cream makers. She created an invention which made lots of people’s lives more enjoyable. To use her device, she put a container of liquid ice cream mixture into another larger container packed with ice and salt, and cranked by hand until the ice cream was frozen. Thank you, Nancy Johnson. Thank you.
The computer algorithm
Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, was encouraged by her scientist mother to become a mathematician. Lovelace was a brilliant expert, thanks in part to opportunities that were denied most women of the time. Lovelace worked with Charles Babbage at the University of London on his plans for an “analytic engine” (i.e. old-timey computer) to develop ways to program the machine with mathematical algorithms, essentially making her “the first computer programmer”. Ada became a baroness in 1835 when she married William King, 8th Baron King; the two had three children. In 1838, she became Countess of Lovelace when her husband was elevated to Earl of Lovelace. Her pedigree and peerage alone would have landed Lovelace in the history books, but her accomplishments in mathematics made her a pioneer of not only computing, but of women in science.
Wireless Transmission (Hedy Lamarr)
The world-famous Australian actress become a pioneer in the field of wireless communications following her emigration to the United States. She, along with co-inventor George Anthiel, developed a “secret communications system” to help combat the Nazis during World War II. They received a patent in 1941 and later used it in naval ships and even today in cellular phones, fax machines and other wireless operations. Her invention laid the technological foundations for everything from Wi-Fi to GPS.
Stephanie Kwolek started working as a chemist in 1946 just to earn enough money to go to medical school, to fulfil her childhood dream of becoming a doctor. She soon fell in love with the work, though, which combined her interests in science and textiles. She invented the super-strong Kevlar fibre, used to make bulletproof vests. Kwolek’s invention is five times stronger than steel, and also has about 200 other uses.
Marion Donovan was a young mother in the post-war baby boom era. Unhappy with leaky, cloth diapers that had to be washed, she first invented the „Boater”, a plastic covering for cloth diapers in 1951. A year later she carried her ideas further. Using disposable absorbent material and combining it with her Boater design, Marion Donovan created the first convenient disposable diaper. As manufacturers thought her product would be too expensive to produce, so she left unable to sell or licence her diaper patent. A few years later Donovan sold the patent to the Keko Corporation for $1 million.
Foot-pedal trash can
Lillian Gilbreth was an American psychologist and industrial engineer, described in the 1940s as “a genius in the art of living”. She was also one of the first working female engineers holding a Ph.S. Gilbreth is most famous for her pioneering work in efficiency management and ergonomics with her husband, Frank. Lillian Gilbreth improved existing inventions with small, but ingenious, tweaks. In the early 1900s, she designed the shelves inside refrigerator doors, made the can opener easier to use, and tidied up cleaning with a foot pedal trash can.
Josephine Cochrane believed that if you want something done right you better do it yourself. But when it came time to doing the dishes, she really didn’t want to, so she invented a machine to wash them for her in 1887. She marketed her invention to hotel owners, scandalously going to meetings without a husband, brother, or father to escort her, and eventually opened her own factory.