Famous Women Inventors - A Few Historic Female Inventors Who Left Their Mark On The World.

Patents, Prototypes, Manufacturing, and Marketing New Inventions

A look at a few of history's important, famous women inventors and what these female inventors invented.






Famous Women Inventors

Throughout history famous women inventors and mostly, not so famous female inventors, have contributed immensely to the world of invention and innovation. Women inventors are the creators of a wide variety of inventions that we all take for granted.  For instance here are some of the inventions women are responsible for: the disposable cell phone, liquid paper, flat-bottom paper grocery bags, scotch-guard and even Kevlar that's used in body armor.

Think of the struggle female inventors must have endured and probably still endure to some extent just to be taken seriously by the men they were surrounded by.  Imagine growing up as a girl in the 1800's and 1900's and being interested in anything mechanical, electrical, or scientific inventions.

A brief look at some famous women inventors.

The Famous Maria Curie - woman inventor

Maria Curie (born in Warsaw, Poland, on November 7, 1867) possibly the most famous woman inventor, was one of the first woman scientists to gain worldwide fame, and was one of the great scientists of this century.

Dr. Curie is primarily known for her discovery of Radium and Polonium. She also discovered that x-rays were able to kill tumors.  She was the first person to win two Nobel prizes. Marie Curie decided not to obtain patents for the processing of radium and the medical applications applicable to it.

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr was most famous for her acting career, although she was one of the famous women inventors as well.

Hedy Lamarr was born as Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, the daughter of Jewish parents Gertrud, a pianist and Budapest native and Lemberg-born Emil Kiesler, a successful bank director. As a young girl she studied ballet and piano.

She married Friedrich Mandl, a Vienna-based arms manufacturer, 13 years her senior. He stopped her acting career, and took her to meetings with technicians and business partners. She once stated that Mandl was consorting with Nazi industrialists and that infuriated her. In 1937, she attended a party wearing her expensive jewelry, drugging Mandl with the help of her maid, and making her escape out of the country.

In Hollywood, she was cast as glamorous and seductive. Her American debut was in Algiers (1938). Her many films include Boom Town (1940), White Cargo (1942), and Tortilla Flat (1942), based on the novel by John Steinbeck. White Cargo, Cecil B.

Frequency-hopped spread spectrum invention

Hedy and her co-inventor, George Antheil, invented a torpedo guidance system that was twenty years ahead of its time.

On 11 August 1942, U.S. Patent 2,292,387  was granted to Antheil and "Hedy Kiesler Markey", Lamarr's married name at the time. This early version of frequency hopping was intended to make radio-guided torpedoes harder for enemies to detect or jam.

It was not used until 1962, when it was used by U.S. military ships during a blockade of Cuba, after the patent had expired. Neither Lamarr nor Antheil (who died in 1959) made any money from the patent.

The patent was little-known until 1997, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Hedy an award for this contribution. Certainly, Hedy was one of the more interesting female inventors. It has turned out to be one of history's more important inventions.

Margaret Knight - Prolific Inventor and the Queen of Paper Bags

Before another famous women inventors, Margaret Knight came along, paper bags were similar to large envelopes.  Margaret was employed in a factory producing paper bags when she came up with a way of making a machine automatically fold and glue paper bags to create a square bottom. 

Margaret Knight can be considered the mother of the grocery bag, and she started the Eastern Paper Bag Company in 1870.

Margaret Knight (Mattie) was born in 1838 receiving her first patent at the age of 30 and has been described as a female Edison. At the age of 12, she came up with a stop-motion device that could be used in textile mills to shut down machinery, to prevent the machinery from injuring the workers. 

In her career Margaret Knight received 26 patents for everything from shoe sole cutting machines to improvements in internal combustion engines.

Margaret Knight's machine made flat-bottomed paper bags are still in use to this very day! She is a real inspiration to female inventors everywhere. Talk about ubiquitous inventions!


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