By the beginning of this century, of all the patents granted, only a tenth of it belonged to women. In the end, compiling a list of the most significant discoveries in the last few centuries, it turns out that their authors rarely were ladies. And it’s not even that they lack a creative vein or the brain is otherwise arranged. It’s just that women are much more likely to face numerous obstacles in getting support and financing their plans.
Suffice it to recall the case of Sibylla Masters, who lived in the American colonies. She, watching the work of Indian women, figured out how to turn the corn into flour. To get a patent for her invention, the woman went to London. But then there were laws that made it impossible for women to have any property, including intellectual property, in the form of patents.
Usually, the property belonged to the father of the woman or her husband. When in 1715 the patent was still issued, it did not indicate the name of Sybil herself, but the name of her husband. For a long time, laws did not allow women to officially register their inventions. In addition, they are much less likely to receive and still receive a technical education. But in fact it helps in many ways to come up with brilliant ideas and turn them into a finished product.
Unfortunately, many women in search of help for the implementation of their projects have also faced the prejudices of men and ridicule on their part. History preserved the name of the first woman to receive a patent in her name. It was Mary Keys. In 1809, she created a special method of weaving straw hats, which helped to enrich the whole new England.
The receipt of a patent in the name of a woman opened the way to other inventors who had the legal right to consolidate their discoveries. As a result, the history received many glorious inventions made by women. Here are the ten most significant of them.
At the very end of the XVIII century the world learned about the Protestant religious sect under the name “shakers”. The main thing in the organization was the arrangement of life in it. Between the sexes equality was observed, and even heavy work was evenly distributed. In Massachusetts there was also such a community, Tabitha Babbitt lived there. She worked as a weaver, but in 1810 she found a way to make the work of her brothers easier. The woman looked for a long time, as men saw the logs with a two-hand saw, moving it one way or the other. Although the load on people and was distributed evenly, but directly sawed only occurred when the saw moves forward. When it moved back, it did not affect the log in any way. Tabitha quickly realized that people were wasting their energy. She came up with the prototype circular saw. Later it was successfully used in the sawmill industry. Babbitt proposed to create a saw with a circular blade. Now every movement of the instrument along the tree made sense. But the commandments of the community were quite strict, they prevented Babbitt from obtaining his legal patent.
Who else can think of sweets, if not a woman? Meanwhile, many culinary masterpieces were born accidentally. Including quite tenacious and one of the most delicious – chocolate biscuits. Ruth Wakefield worked as a dietitian, reading lectures on food culture. Her life changed when she and her husband bought an old house-post in a suburb of Boston. In such institutions, travelers traditionally stayed, paid road taxes, ate and fed horses. Together with her husband, Ruth made a hotel and a restaurant out of this seedy place. Once in 1930, Ruth baked cookies for their guests. Under the recipe in it it was necessary to add the melted chocolate. But the hostess in a hurry took the usual chocolate Nestle, broke it into small pieces and put it in the dough. Ruth thought that when baking chocolate will be able to melt independently. But it turned out that the sweetness took on a special form. This was the birth of the first chocolate cookie.Soon, Nestle found that the sales of its chocolate in the state of Massachusetts went uphill. Representatives of the company found the source of such demand – Mrs. Wakefield. She agreed to tell the pastry recipes her recipe. As a result, a line for a simplified fault appeared on the tiles of Nestle chocolate. And since 1939 chocolate biscuits began to be produced already at the factory. Recipe Ruth was printed on the back of the package. And the woman herself in gratitude has received a lifelong opportunity to receive chocolate for free.
Bette Nesmith Graham worked as a typist, but she did not show special talents in this profession. In college, she could not learn because of the high dropout rate. As a result, the girl got a job at the secretariat of the Bank of Texas. There she attained the executive secretary of the chairman of the board. Then, in the early 1950s, an electric typewriter was just starting to appear and was gradually put into operation. But the secretaries sometimes had to reprint entire pages of the text, if they found at least a small mistake. After all, carbon tapes did not allow corrections. Once, Batt observed how the workers applied the patterns to the windows of her bank before the holiday. She noticed that, in case of error, the artists simply applied another layer of paint on top of it, closing the unfortunate place. The woman thought that such a principle would be good to use in her work. She took a blender and mixed the water-based paint with the dye used for printing. The mixture that turned out, Batt thin watercolor brush began to cause errors in your document. This method was so much liked by all the other secretaries that they began to demand a mixture for them. As a result, Graham was soon fired from her job. After all, she spent all the time on spreading her goods, produced at home, in the kitchen. The new mixture was called “No mistakes.” Left without a job, Batt was able to calmly improve her discovery. As a result, she received a patent for liquid paper in 1958. Today almost all typewriters are occupied by computers, but a white liquid is an equalizer, still in demand.
Compiler and programming language COBOL.
There are so many nice names in the world of computer technology. At mind immediately come Charles Babbage, Alan Turing, Bill Gates and Steven Jobs. But not everyone knows about Grace Murray Hopper. Meanwhile, it also played an important role in the development of this industry. The woman began working in 1943, while she worked at Harvard to create the IBM Harvard Mark I. It was the first large-scale computer project in America. Among its creators, Grace was the third most important. The woman was able to create a manual on computer operations, which was then used by her followers. In 1950, Hopper came up with a compiler that could translate commands in ordinary English into machine code. This immediately made it much easier for programmers to create their own code and allow a much smaller number of errors. Hopper also created its second compiler, Flow-Matic. It was used for programs UNIVAC I and II, which worked on the first computers that appeared on sale. It was Hopper who led the development of a common business-oriented language COBOL. This programming language was generally one of the first. For her work, Grace Hopper received many awards, in her honor was even named the ship of the US Navy.
In 1847, Marta Coston became a widow, although she was only 21 at the time. Despite such a young age, the woman stayed with four children in her arms. Martha did not have any idea of how and what to live on next to. One evening, in despair, she flipped through the notebook of her deceased husband. There she discovered an interesting plan for creating a flare system.It could be used by ships that communicate with each other in poor visibility, in darkness or fog. Marta submitted an application to the relevant bodies, asking them to verify the operation of such a system. Although this was denied, she decided to go with this idea to the end. The next 10 years, the woman was engaged in improving the system and developing the design of the device that her husband came up with. Marta held numerous consultations with scientists and naval officers. She could not understand how to make flashes bright and long. At the same time it was necessary to make the system easy to use. One night Marta led her children out into the street to watch the fireworks. Then she had the idea that some pyrotechnic elements in her flare system would not be superfluous. As a result, the flare system was created and became operational. The rights to use it were bought by the US Navy. During the Civil War, the colored signal flares of Koston were often used. Only now the flare system did not become that thing that could help a woman to feed herself and her children. Military documents say that during the Civil War, Coston sold the fleet 1.2 million missiles at a cost. The woman was promised 120 thousand dollars for her works, but in fact she was able to get only 15 thousand. In her autobiography, Koston said that the fleet refused to pay her the remaining money, since she was a woman.
Margaret Knight is not really an inventor of a paper bag. But even the first paper bags suited little for that – they could not carry things. Then these products resembled envelopes, it was also impossible to use them for products. Thus, the modern look of paper bags was not acquired immediately. And it was Margaret Knight who put her hand to it. The woman calculated that the packages should have a large bottom area. Then the weight can be distributed more evenly. Such a package can accommodate many more things. In 1870, a woman created wooden apparatus. These machines were cut from paper, and then squared the square bases for the bags. In the course of working on the iron version of his machine with subsequent patenting, Margaret discovered that her idea was stolen by a certain Charles Annan. He furtively saw a wooden machine in his time. Knight immediately filed a lawsuit against the thief. He as an argument told the court that such a complex machine woman simply could not think of. In proof of her rightness, Margaret could provide all her drawings, notes and sketches. As a result, the court decided that she was the real inventor. In 1871, Knight received a patent for his device. Although this was the first document so hard in her life that was so difficult, but not the first at all. Even when the girl was 12 years old, she was able to come up with a device that automatically stops industrial machines in case of malfunctions. This helped to significantly reduce the traumatism in production. And just for her life an ingenious woman received more than 20 patents.
It’s easy to imagine that the dishwasher was invented by the person who for years has washed and rubbed over the sink of a mountain of dirty dishes and cups, shedding tears of fatigue. In fact, everything is not so tragic. The patent for the first dishwasher belongs to Josephine Cochrane. She did not do her invention at all, washing dishes. Stimulated it for the opening of an accident – one day in the kitchen during the cleaning broke the elegant Chinese service, which the woman was very fond of. Cochrane loved secular life, spending time on entertainment and communication. But in 1883 she remained a widow and found that her husband left her a large number of debts. The woman flatly refused to sell her property, focusing on creating a new car. Her invention should have been good to wash the dishes, but not to break it.In the car a strong stream of water was directed to dirty plates and cups. The patent for the device the woman has received in 1886. But the difficulties were just beginning. Josephine later told me that it was easier to invent a machine than to get people to buy it. At first, individual customers recoiled from the car. After all, many families did not have the opportunity to serve warm water to the device. Those who had such an opportunity did not understand the point of acquiring a device if a woman could do it for free. But this collapse did not stop Cochrane. She began to meet with the directors of major restaurants and hotels. The woman advertised her invention, telling that she can do the work for ten. Soon and an increasing number of families began to purchase such a convenient device for private use.
Mary Anderson visited New York at the very beginning of the 20th century. Then the city was completely different from what it appears today for tourists. Infinite traffic jams and a huge number of signaling machines were not there. Cars were a rarity, they will become an American dream much later. Who would have thought that a woman from Alabama, having come to a major metropolis, would invent what would soon become an integral part of any car. When Anderson was driving on a tram through a snow-clad city, she noticed that the driver often stops just to clear the windshield of the car from the snow. And this behavior was normal at that time. That’s why snow or rain turned into a nightmare for all those who were behind the wheel. When the woman returned home, she came up with a special holder on the spindle. It was attached to the outer side of the windshield with a handle. If the driver needed to clear his glass, he simply pulled the handle, and then the mechanism itself removed the dirt. On his invention Anderson received a patent in 1903, but only after 10 years, thousands of Americans received windshield wipers for their cars. Today, without them, it is difficult to imagine a modern car.
Many believe that romantic relationships can not be kept at a distance. But Rachel Brown and Elizabeth Hazen proved that distance is not a hindrance at least to professional relations. Both women served in the Department of Health of the State of New York in 1940. Only Hazen was in New York, and Brown – in Albany. Although they were shared by kilometers, they actively cooperated, creating their antifungal drug. Hazen in his city took soil samples to understand what kind of organism can interact with fungi. As soon as the woman found any activity in the mail, she sent the sample to her colleague. Brown extracted from the soil found the body, which was the cause of the reaction. If she found the active ingredient, she sent it back to Hazen. She already checked it again for the presence of fungi. If it turned out that the body is capable of killing fungi, it was then tested for toxicity. Almost all the samples found were ultimately too dangerous for humans. As a result, women managed to find an organism that killed the fungus, and was safe for people. The discovery was made in 1950. The resulting drug was called nystatite. Today it is sold under different brands, and it is intended for the treatment of fungal infections that threaten the skin, intestines and genitals.
When settling into a new job, Stefania Kwolek considered her only temporary. In 1946, the girl came to the company DuPont, seeking to accumulate funds for further education in a medical college. After 18 years, she still worked in the same place. Here, she densely engaged in the conversion of polymers into very strong synthetic fibers. Kwolek had to work with polymers whose molecules were in the form of a rod and lined up one after another in a single line.Usually molecules form mixed systems. Kwolek realized that her clear lines would make the new material much stronger. The relevance of this will not diminish, even if the polymers are difficult to dissolve in water. By the way, it can also be used in further research. Over time, Stephanie still managed to get a solution with stick molecules. At the same time, the resulting liquid was significantly different from all the similar ones obtained earlier. Then the scientist decided to pass the solution through a special unit, which creates tissue fibers. But the operator of the spinneret machine did not allow it to be used, because the Kwolek mixture was quite unusual, different from traditional samples. The employee was simply frightened that a strange liquid could break his car. But the uncompromising Stephanie has achieved her goal. At the end of the process, it turned out to be fiber, dense as steel. This material was called kevlavrom. Today it is widely used in the production of tires, brake pads, cables, helmets, skis and so on. Special popularity of the kevlavra brought its use in bulletproof vests. Life Stephanie Kwolek has developed so that they did not get into medical school. But the woman still fulfilled her destiny – her invention saved many human lives.