Until the late 1800s, the law prohibited women from patenting their inventions. According to The National Women’s History Museum, between 1865 to 1900, women established more than 5,500 patents.
Let’s learn more about six inspiring women, both from the past and the present, who applied their talents and skills to improve our society.
Margaret A. Wilcox
Enjoying the warmth of a car heater during a rough winter? Margaret A. Wilcox is the one we all can thank. In 1893, she patented the first car heater.
According to History.com, “Wilcox’s 1893 design used heat from the car’s engine to keep drivers and passengers warm during trips.”
Next time you crank the heat in your car, remember to thank Margaret Wilcox, who designed the very first car heater,…Posted by Women in Automotive on Thursday, January 14, 2021
Fun Fact: This wasn’t her only invention. Wilcox also made a machine that washed both clothes and dishes. However, this one didn’t quite have the same amount of success.
CEO and Co-Founder of Pathspot, Christine Schindler invented a hand scanner that detects harmful bacteria that might cause illnesses. Her journey started while studying biochemical engineering.
Although the hand scanner can’t detect COVID-19, it can identify germs found in food-borne illnesses.
According to KTLA 5, restaurants are using this new scanner to ensure everyone’s hands are properly cleaned. Freshly washed hands are scanned by the device with light, and its algorithms can detect dirty hands within seconds.
Fun Fact: Schindler also founded the nonprofit organization Girls Engineering Change. Their mission is to eliminate the perception that STEM careers are a “man’s job” and to inspire girls to get involved in engineering through their mentorship programs.
Dr. Chien Shiung Wu
The “Queen of Physics,” Chinese immigrant Dr. Chien Shiung Wu paved the way for minority women in the field of physics through her groundbreaking experiments. Wu’s most well-known discovery disproved the Law of Parity.
According to The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Law of Parity “implied that nature is symmetrical and makes no distinction between right- and left-handed rotations … of a subatomic particle.” Quantum mechanics forever changed because Wu’s experiment proved that theory false.
Fun Fact: CNN reported that her portrait will be one of three Asian Americans who will be on U.S. Stamps this year.
Madam C.J. Walker
Madam C.J. Walker, formerly known as Sarah Breedlove, was the first self-made African American woman millionaire. She started out as a washerwoman until she met Annie Turnbo Malone, who sold Black hair care products.
Author of “On Her Own Ground,” A’Leila Bundles, who wrote Walker’s biography (now adapted into a Netflix series), said Walker started out selling Malone’s hair products until a “rift of some kind” severed their business relationship and created a rivalry.
After cutting ties with Malone, Walker became the first self-made African American woman millionaire by making and selling her own successful hair care line. Watch the Netflix original series “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker” based on her life.
Fun Fact: Biography says that Walker “also donated the largest amount of money by an African American toward the construction of an Indianapolis YMCA in 1913.”
Mary A. Delaney
A retractable dog leash wasn’t a thing until Mary A. Delaney invented it in 1908. In her patent, she said, “It is usually desirable that the dog should have a certain freedom in running about, but it is difficult to prevent the animal from running on the wrong side of lamp posts or pedestrians …”
To eliminate the irritation of owners having to wrap their chain or leash around their hand, she invented the retractable leash.
It’s Woman’s History Month! Let’s show so love to our amazing women in history and in our lives! Did you know????? The…Posted by Small Big Dog Naturals on Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Fun Fact: According to Slate, 17th century portraits showed people’s pets wearing “dainty dog chains and glittering neckbands,” which means dog products have been around for a long time.
NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson contributed to America’s first human space flight by creating a trajectory analysis for Alan Shepherd’s mission.
NASA says she also strengthened many other projects, including Project Apollo’s Lunar Module, the Space Shuttle and the Earth’s Resources Technology Satellite and co-authored or authored 26 reports. Watch the movie about her life, “Hidden Figures,” streaming on Disney+.
Fun Fact: According to NASA, Johnson’s mentor at Western Virginia State College, math professor W. W. Schieffelin Claytor, was the third African American to earn a PhD in mathematics.