Often when we are asked to name important inventors we say “Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell or Nikola Tesla”. However, it’s not often that we mention innovative women inventors. In this post, we look at great women inventors whose inventions changed our world.
Grace Hopper was assigned to work on a new computer whilst working with the US Navy. She is the person behind the compiler which translated instructions into code that computers can understand. This revolutionised how computers worked. She also coined the term “debugging” which programmers still use today, after a moth was found inside her machine. Hopper continued to work with computers until she retired at the age of 79.
Dr Shirley Ann Jackson
Dr Shirley Ann Jackson is the person responsible for caller ID and call waiting. These breakthroughs for the telecommunications industry enabled others to invent the portable fax, fibre optic cables and solar cells.
Can you imagine driving in the rain without a windscreen wiper? Well, you have Mary Anderson to thank for that technology. She came up with the idea whilst in New York and noticed that the driver had to open the passenger window in order to clear up the windscreen. She started drawing a solution where a rubber blade was attached to the outside and could be moved from inside the vehicle. Unfortunately, car companies believed the blade would distract drivers and she never profited from her invention.
Olga D Gonzalez-Sanabria
Olga D Gonzalez-Sanabria is the inventor of Space Station batteries. She invented a long cycle-life hydrogen battery the helps power the International Space Station. She is originally from Puerto Rico and developed the batteries in 1980. Olga now is director of engineering at NASA.
Josephine was a lady that would entertain guest often and needed a machine that would wash her dishes faster than her servants and be less likely to break them. The machine she invented involved a motor turning a wheel inside a copper boiler. This was the first automatic dishwasher to use water pressure.
Marie Van Brittan Brown
As a nurse, who was often home alone, Marie Van Brittan Brown invented something that would make her feel safer. Together with her husband, Marie invented the first home security system in the 1960s. The system was complicated with a camera powered by a motor which moved up and down the door to look through the peephole.
Ann Tsukamoto is the person behind stem cell isolation. This has lead to great advancements in understanding cancer and could lead to a cure for the disease. She is currently conducting further research into stem cell growth and is co-patentee on more than 7 other inventions.
Stephanie Kwolek is the chemist behind Kevlar. She invented the lightweight fibre used in modern day armour in 1965. Since this discovery, her invention has saved millions of lives.
Charles Darrow is often credited as being the inventor of Monopoly, but the rules were in fact invented by Elizabeth Magie. Magie wanted to demonstrate the problems with capitalism with an innovative game where players traded fake money and property. Her original design was called The Landlords Game. The game we know as Monopoly today was published in 1935 by the Parker Brothers. They purchased Magie’s patent for $500 and monopolised the game.
This article was inspired by the original at BBC.com