As we celebrate the inauguration of the first Black and South Asian woman Vice President in our country’s history, we also want to highlight other women who are not necessarily household names, but who we think should be! Below are a few women who helped shape our world through their brilliant inventions. We love that many of these inventions clearly were the result of dealing with every day frustrations, annoyances and safety concerns. Is it really a surprise that a woman invented the car heater? We are forever grateful to Margaret Wilcox who invented this in 1893!
Where would we be today if Letitia Greer hadn’t invented the one-handed medical syringe in 1899? Can you imagine the lines for vaccinations if it took twice the number of medical personnel to administer the shots??
We all owe a debt of gratitude to Melitta Benz for making it a lot easier to get our morning cup of coffee. She invented the paper coffee filter in 1908.
Do you long for the days when you had to fill your “icebox” with actual ice to keep your food from spoiling? We don’t either – and we have Florence Parpart to thank for inventing the electric refrigerator in 1914.
Another woman entrepreneur, El Dorado Jones, invented the airplane muffler in 1917. Nicknamed “Iron Woman” (as if El Dorado wasn’t cool enough!), she also owned her own metalworking factory where she employed only women over age 40.
Everyone knows who Bill Gates is, but what about Grace Murray Hopper?? Long before Bill was tinkering in his garage, in 1952, Ms. Hopper was on the team at Harvard that developed COBOL, one of the first modern computer programming languages.
How does the International Space Station keep its solar power charged when the Earth blocks the sun’s rays for 1/3 of its rotation? Space Station folks have Olga Gonzalez-Sanabria to thank for her 1980 invention of long-life nickel hydrogen batteries for keeping the lights on in space.
We’ll close this impressive list with a woman who is responsible for saving hundreds of thousands of lives. In 1991, Ann Tsukamoto co-patented the process for isolating human stem cells found in bone marrow, a major breakthrough in cancer research.
Here’s to women of courage, women of science, women of industry, women of creativity and strength. We salute all of you on this historic day.
(Much of this information came from this great article from USA Today, March 2019.)