6 Things You Might Not Know Were Invented by Women

On November 10, 1903, Mary Anderson patented her invention of the windshield wiper. Cadillac was the first to include them in every car model, and other companies soon followed. Find out about some other surprising inventions that were designed and patented by women...

ADVERTISEMENT

Carpenters Can Thank a Woman for Inventing the Circular Saw In 1812, Tabitha Babbitt, a weaver who lived in a Shaker community, noticed how difficult it was for people to use a pit saw, which needed two individuals to operate and cut only in a single direction. She solved that problem by attaching a circular blade to a spinning wheel. The circular saw proved to be a more efficient way to perform the task and led many men in later years to create home workshops in their garages.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Dishwasher Was Invented by a Woman Patented in 1886, the first dishwasher combined high water pressure, a wheel, a boiler, and a wire rack like the ones still used for dish drying. Inventor Josephine Cochrane never used it herself, but it made life easier for her servants. This invention is still a lifesaver for many households today.

A Movie Star Invented Wireless Transmission Technology Movie siren Hedy Lamarr was not only beautiful but brainy. She created a communication system in 1941 to guide torpedoes without detection. Her design manipulated the radio frequencies to operate at irregular intervals so that classified messages could be sent in an unbreakable code and could not be intercepted by the enemy during World War II. Her groundbreaking technology in wireless transmission led the way for other inventions, including Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS.

Rocket Fuel Invented by a Woman Powered Explorer I Mary Sherman Morgan was instrumental in saving the space program in America in 1957 when she invented Hydyne rocket fuel. Her contribution to the space program allowed the launch of the Jupiter 6 rocket, which was used to boost Explorer 1, America’s first satellite. This brilliant mathematician and chemist designed her own fuel cocktail, which was exactly what was necessary to operate Werner von Braun’s rockets. Without her invention, it may have been necessary to redesign the rockets entirely.

The Board Game Monopoly Was Invented by Elizabeth Magie One of the most famous board games of all time was invented by Elizabeth Magie in 1904 under the original name The Landlord's Game. Magie's game was a critique of the injustices of unchecked capitalism, making it all the more ironic when her game was completely ripped off by Charles Darrow 30 years later, who sold it to Parker Brothers. The firm eventually tracked down Magie and paid her $500 for her troubles.