5 Things You Might Not Know Were Invented By Women

On November 10, 1903, Mary Anderson patented her invention of the windshield wiper which soon became standard on all motor vehicles. Find out about 5 surprising inventions that were designed and patented by women...


Motorists Can Thank a Woman For Windshield Wipers In 1903, Mary Anderson was a rancher and real estate developer who invented the first manually operated windshield wipers. Cadillac was the first car manufacturer to include windshield wipers on all of their vehicles, and other companies soon followed. Another female inventor, Charlotte Bridgwood, invented the automatic version of the windshield wiper using an electric roller in 1917. 

Dog Walking Became Easier Because of a Woman A clever dog owner in New York City, Mary A. Delaney, invented the retractable dog leash in 1908. She invented it so dog walkers could keep their pooches under better control while still giving them some freedom to roam. Surprisingly enough, the child harness was not invented by a woman and was patented eleven years later by R.C. O’Connor.


The Woman Who Made a Fortune Inventing Liquid Paper Like many women in the 1950s, Bette Nesmith Graham made a living as a secretary. The problem was that she wasn’t a good typist, and kept making mistakes. She began experimenting with ways to cover up her errors. She mixed ingredients such as white tempera water-based paint in her kitchen blender and painted over her mistakes with a thin paintbrush. She began marketing her typewriter correction fluid as "Liquid Paper". In 1979, she sold Liquid Paper to the Gillette Corporation for $47.5 million. Her son, Michael Nesmith, would also find fame as a member of the rock band The Monkees.

The Dishwasher Was Invented By a Woman Josephine Cochrane was a housewife when she dreamed up the idea for the first automatic dishwasher, which she patented in 1886. She worked on the design in a shed behind her home, and her invention included a wire rack to place the dishes on, a wheel, a boiler, and water pressure to make it operate efficiently. Her invention was displayed at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, where the judges found it so impressive, they awarded it first prize. Although the inventor never used it herself, it made life easier for her servants.

A Woman Invented the Life Rafts Used on the Titanic Inventor Maria Beasley was already a wealthy woman because of her eight patents for the barrel-hooping machine (an invention that made it easier to place the metal bands on barrels). In 1882, she patented a design for a foldable life raft with fireproof guardrails. The life rafts invented by Beasley were used onboard the luxury liner Titanic and are credited with saving more than 700 lives when the ship sank in the North Atlantic in 1912.